China will step up efforts to ease market restrictions over foreign investment, with measures to open up more sectors and guarantee equal treatment, according to a press conference on Friday.
Tang Wenhong, an official with the Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM), said MOFCOM will make specific arrangements and set a clear agenda to push forward the implementation of policies designed to improve the business environment and encourage foreign investment.
By the end of March 2019, the government will eliminate all limits that go beyond the official negative list for foreign investment and a special inspection will be launched to ensure all foreign-funded firms are treated equally in areas including government procurement, subsidies and licenses.
By the end of this year, provincial authorities will establish and improve mechanisms to handle complaints from foreign businesses.
China will scrap all laws, rules and normative documents that go against the current opening-up policy by the end of 2019, Tang said.
From services to manufacturing and telecommunications, more sectors will become open to foreign businesses and the investment environment will become better, Tang said, adding that the revision of two guidance catalogues for foreign investment will also be finished by the end of March.
China has also unveiled a string of policies to improve the business environment, including building a level playing field, strengthening intellectual property protection and reducing business operation burdens.
Xiong Maoping from the State Administration for Market Regulation said efforts will be taken to promote more convenient and transparent market entry.
"By the end of the year, the time required for opening a business will be cut to 8.5 days in major cities," Xiong said, adding the procedures will become clearer and more predictable.
Zhou Xiaofei from the National Development and Reform Commission said the central government will pilot an evaluation system for the business environment in major cities in 2019 and promote the program nationwide in 2020.
The evaluation system will rank cities in three areas, namely corporate life cycles, attraction to investment and high-quality development.