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Nation eases path for multinationals

Updated: 2021-03-12

By He Wei, China Daily

Overseas companies welcome new investment policies

For multinational corporations grappling with the coronavirus pandemic, China emerged as a silver lining to their balance sheets last year.

The nation has launched favorable policies to stabilize and attract foreign investment, and this was underlined on Friday when Premier Li Keqiang announced a series of opening-up measures in his Government Work Report. Li delivered the report to the fourth session of the 13th National People's Congress, the country's top legislative body.

According to business executives, foreign companies will benefit from China's latest plans to shape its role as a global growth engine in a test of locally adapted innovation and a venue for generating best business practices.

These plans include further cutting the negative list for foreign investment, opening the services sector in a well-regulated way, formulating a negative list for cross-border trade in services and advancing the Hainan Free Trade Port.

One of the companies to benefit is the German chemicals giant Covestro, which produces a variety of polyurethane and polycarbonate-based raw materials used in industries from automobiles to electronics.

China contributed to more than 20 percent of Covestro's annual sales last year, regaining its position as the company's largest single market after being overtaken by the United States a year earlier.

Holly Lei, president of Covestro China, said: "The country was the 'backbone' for our performance last year. In the company's eyes, China was definitely the first to enjoy growth and lead the global recovery."

She attributed these achievements to the effective pandemic control measures implemented by the Chinese government, which led to a swift rebound in manufacturing and broader economic activities.

"We, as a foreign enterprise, welcome such policies highly and have benefited a lot," Lei said.

The string of opening-up measures is good news for foreign companies operating in China.

Premier Li said the country would promote steady growth of imports and exports this year, increase credit support to small and medium-sized foreign trade companies, and encourage the development of new forms of trade, including cross-border e-commerce.

Executives said such efforts would create a high-quality business environment and promote economic globalization.

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