Friday, 22 March, 2019

China's parliament approves new foreign investment law

China-US trade war: New Chinese law seeks to address concerns Could China's Foreign Investment Law Appease Trump?
Jeannette Daniel | 17 March, 2019, 15:37

"We have to prepare more and we have reserved policy room [to address uncertainties]", Li told a news conference after the annual parliament meeting ended.

China's top legislature, the National People's Congress (NPC), passed the law with an overwhelming majority: 2,929 yes votes, eight no notes, and eight legislators abstaining.

"While not all our concerns were addressed in this law, it is time to move forward".

The move comes as U.S. and Chinese negotiators hold complex talks aimed at resolving a months-long trade war that has pounded businesses with tariffs on $360 billion in two-way commerce.

Recently, some ruling party officials, scholars and journalists in Beijing have started to rap Xi's China-centered policies for complicating relations with the USA administration of President Donald Trump and jeopardizing solid economic expansion. Chinese and American officials are now negotiating a deal to end the dispute.

The law also has clear positions on the protection of foreign investors' rights regarding issues such as intellectual property rights protection and technology transfer that are of common concern to foreign investors, Zhang said. They said they will need to see how it is enforced to know whether it will improve conditions for foreign companies. While the law may be positive for the trade talks and foreign companies operating in China, not everyone is satisfied.

Washington and Beijing have been locked in a tit-for-tat tariff battle as US officials press China for an end to practices and policies they argue have given Chinese firms unfair advantages.

China-US trade war: New Chinese law seeks to address concerns

But it added that it was concerned that "such an important and potentially far-reaching piece of legislation will be enacted without extensive consultation and input from industry stakeholders". "More than anything else, foreign companies want equal treatment and opportunities", said the group's president, Mats Harborn. In the age of further reform and opening up, the "three foreign capital laws" formulated in the early days can no longer meet the needs of developing a new economic system with an open market.

Li also made no mention of the "Made in China 2025" technology blueprint, under which China has been attempting to create global leaders in advanced technologies at the state's initiative - one of the causes that prompted the United States to wage a trade war.

It also fleshes out criminal penalties for officials who leak confidential information they obtain from overseas businesses, the source added.

"I think we can safely assume that this language is a result of the trade negotiations as it was slipped in at the last minute".

For example, the new law stipulates that foreign-invested enterprises shall participate in government procurement activities on a level playing field, and government procurement shall treat the products of foreign-invested enterprises produced in China equally.

Washington and Beijing have been locked in a tit-for-tat tariff battle as United States presses China for an end to practices and policies it argues have given Chinese firms unfair advantages, including subsidising of industry, limits on access for foreign companies and alleged theft of intellectual property.

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