Foreign firms vowed 'national treatment'

08:46, September 14, 2010      

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In an effort to reassure foreign enterprises that their business won't be hindered in China by discriminatory practices, Premier Wen Jiabao told business leaders at a major meeting Monday that the nation is committed to an open and fair environment for investing.

"I wish to reiterate that all enterprises registered in China according to Chinese laws are Chinese enterprises. Their products are made-in-China products," he said at the opening ceremony of the Summer Davos forum in Tianjin Municipality.

All foreign-invested enterprises registered in China enjoy "national treatment," he said, promising equal treatment for products produced by foreign invested enterprises and for Chinese ones alike.

The three-day forum, also known as World Economic Forum's Annual Meeting of the New Champions 2010, has attracted 1,500 high-profile government officials, business leaders and scholars to discuss how to achieve sustainable growth amid global economic recovery.

The theme of the meeting will be discussed under four main pillars: improving competitiveness through science and technology; creating new value from business models and for future markets; facilitating economic and social change; and designing effective global, industry and regional solutions, according to the organizers.

Some business executives present at the forum voiced their confidence and commitment to the Chinese market, despite rising labor costs.

Guo Hua, general manager of the Asia-Pacific region at Neustar, a Virginia-based company providing technology and innovative solutions in communication services, told the Global Times that he felt the "adjustments of government policies toward foreign companies are going in the right direction."

"We regard China as a key growth area, and we can exchange ideas with other companies at this gathering," said Guo, whose company recently opened a Beijing office.

However, there were opposing views on the issue of discriminatory practices.

Bi Yujuan, CEO of the Tianjin Cotton Exchange Market, complained that "some foreign investors may have enjoyed 'preferential treatment' over domestic ones."

"As a result, some small and medium-sized domestic enterprises (SMEs) claim they are in a disadvantageous position," he said.

Local SMEs and foreign companies should be given a leveled field in terms of competing for business, as domestic SMEs have contributed greatly to national economic growth and employment, Bi said.

More than 470 of the top 500 global companies have established their presence in China, making China one of the world's largest destinations for foreign investment, the Xinhua News Agency reported.

As of July, China had received $1.05 trillion in foreign investment in cumulative terms this year, ranking first among developing countries for 18 years in a row.

Sustainable development

The impact of the global financial crisis, which has not been fully eliminated, is still showing its effects on the world economy, with systemic and structural risks remaining prominent, Premier Wen said Monday.

"The world economy has yet to enter a benign cycle of steady growth," he added during the Summer Davos Forum's opening session.

Tian Yun, an expert on macroeconomics at the China Macro Economics Institute, told the Global Times that the forum can be viewed as "a weathervane of future global economic growth."

"Both China and the world at large have to pursue low-carbon and sustainable growth," Tian said.

Also Monday, Wen said China's massive stimulus package issued after the financial crisis has been "timely, fruitful and effective," benefiting both China and the world.

"It is time to withdraw the package since its side effects, such as industry overcapacity and hot money in the real estate industry, have emerged," Tian said.

Eugene Kandel, head of the National Economic Council in the prime minister's office of Israel, who attended the gathering, told the Global Times Monday that the forum served as an optimal channel for Israeli companies to possibly cooperate with their Chinese counterparts.

"Going green needs well-coordinated solutions, planning and budgeting, as well as implementation of the whole international community," he said.

Source: Global Times


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