Beijing to introduce regulations for new foreign investment law

Premier Li Keqiang at the Boao Forum for Asia annual conference in Hainan yesterday..
Premier Li Keqiang at the Boao Forum for Asia annual conference in Hainan yesterday..He said the economic outlook for China remains upbeat PHOTO: BLOOMBERG

BOAO (Hainan) • The Chinese government is taking concrete steps to flesh out in detail the new foreign investment law that it passed this month, Premier Li Keqiang said yesterday.

Supporting regulations that back up the new law - which has been criticised for being short on specifics - will be formulated by the end of this year so they can come into force together with the new law on Jan 1 next year, he said in a speech.

China will also go through existing laws and regulations and abolish or modify statutes that contradict the new legislation, Mr Li told business and government leaders gathered in Hainan for the annual Boao Forum for Asia.

China's assurances that its new law will be effective in protecting investors and ensuring equal market access come as senior US officials arrived yesterday for a new round of talks aimed at ending a trade war that has cost both sides billions of dollars.

In his speech, Mr Li said the economic outlook for China remains upbeat despite concerns that the global economy is losing momentum amid uncertainties.

Beijing's record 2 trillion yuan (S$403 billion) cut to taxes and fees announced at the annual parliamentary session earlier this month showed China's commitment to driving internal growth and consumer demand, and that it "will not repeat the old path of massive stimulus", Mr Li added.

"China's sound economic performance is not a result of quantitative easing or massive stimulus," he said.

 
 
 
 

"Some fluctuations in economic growth from month to month or quarter to quarter are hardly avoidable. Nevertheless, we'll carry on with our policies as long as the major economic indicators are kept within an appropriate range for the whole year," he added.

Mr Li stressed that China is committed to the path of opening up, and that its negative list for investments will only grow shorter.

He said Beijing will only "reduce items instead of increasing items" on the list.

"We'll further open up sectors including modern services such as value-added telecoms, healthcare, education as well as transportation, infrastructure, energy and resources."

The country is also speeding up opening its banking, securities and insurance markets to foreign investment, said Mr Li.

China will make it easier for overseas investors to trade the country's bonds, and will allow foreign banks greater business scope in China.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 29, 2019, with the headline 'Beijing to introduce regulations for new foreign investment law'. Print Edition | Subscribe