Former minister says China must improve laws to woo foreign capital, tech

To attract foreign capital and technology, China should make its laws specific and clear. PHOTO: EPA-EFE

BEIJING (BLOOMBERG) - China needs to improve its laws and regulations to win the trust of the international community in pursuit of its opening-up strategy, according to a former commerce minister.

To attract foreign capital and technology, China should make its laws specific and clear, avoid frequent changes and ensure unified implementation across different regions, Professor Chen Deming, a former commerce minister, said at the annual Caixin summit Saturday (Nov 13).

China's application to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership, or CPTPP, requires the country to set higher standards in its regulations of state-owned enterprises, e-commerce, intellectual property, labour and other areas, he said.

The same applies with the Comprehensive Agreement on Investment (CAI) between China and the European Union (EU), said Prof Chen, who was China's commerce minister from 2007 to 2013 and is now a professor at Nanjing University.

"China will need to amend a large number of regulations and policy documents, once the CAI agreement is implemented," he said. He also called on the EU to return to rationality and proceed with the CAI discussions.

The EU froze approval of the investment pact after Beijing sanctioned some European lawmakers in retaliation against the bloc's own measures to punish China for allegations of forced labour and other abuses in Xinjiang.

China denies mistreating its Uyghur Muslim minority, describing its policies as an effort to prevent extremism, fight terrorism and reduce poverty.

Join ST's Telegram channel here and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.