China will advance opening-up to a higher level as it pledges to further stabilize foreign trade and actively leverage the role of foreign capital, said the report delivered by Premier Li Keqiang at the opening meeting of the annual national legislative session on Friday.
The country will significantly shorten its negative list for foreign investment, while a negative list will also be drawn up for cross-border trade in services, said the report.
New pilot free trade zones and integrated bonded areas will be established in the country's central and western regions, the report said.
China will also focus on quality in the joint pursuit of the Belt and Road Initiative, firmly safeguard the multilateral trading regime and actively participate in the reform of the World Trade Organization, according to the report.
This year, the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic has brought shocks to the global economy, weighing on both the supply side and the demand side of China's foreign trade and investment. To cope with the challenges, China has taken various measures to keep foreign investment stable.
The foreign investment law took effect at the beginning of this year. To render a better business environment and provide overseas investors with stronger protection, the government has ramped up efforts to implement the law throughout the year.
The implementation of the foreign investment law shores up foreign-funded enterprises' confidence in Chinese market, said Jiang Ying, vice chairman of Deloitte China, adding that more opening-up measures will be of great significance to China's sustainable development as well as global economy.
China's opening-up endeavors have won widespread recognition. According to a World Bank report, China ranked 31st globally for ease of doing business, up from 46th in its previous annual report, and China's strong reform agenda placed the country in the world's top 10 "most improved" list for the second consecutive year.
China has abundant and high-quality labor resources, a mature and supportive industrial system and a market with a population of 1.4 billion, all of which are advantages in attracting foreign investment, Commerce Minister Zhong Shan said. "No smart entrepreneurs will give up the huge Chinese market."
According to the Ministry of Commerce, foreign direct investment into the Chinese mainland expanded 11.8 percent year on year to 70.36 billion yuan (about 9.92 billion U.S. dollars) in April this year.
Despite disruptions from the pandemic, the Chinese market will remain the most noteworthy business environment in the world for a long time, as long as China maintains strong domestic demand and innovation momentum, said Hungchih Liu, vice president for Asia Pacific of engineering multinational AECOM.
In light of the pandemic situation and the global economic recession, China needs to push for an opening-up with wider scope, higher quality and inclusiveness, said Wen Bin, chief analyst with China Minsheng Bank.