China to issue guideline to improve business environment for foreign investors


BEIJING, Oct. 29 (Xinhua) -- China will roll out a guideline tobetter use foreign investment with a focus on safeguarding the nationaltreatment of foreign-funded enterprises.

The guideline, which was adopted in principle at an executive meetingof the State Council held on Oct. 16, puts forward 20 policies in fouraspects to create a more "fair, transparent and predictable" businessenvironment for foreign-invested enterprises, said Vice Minister ofCommerce and Deputy China International Trade Representative WangShouwen Tuesday.

For a start, in deepening opening-up, China will continue to reducethe negative list for foreign investment access in the national andpilot free trade zones, and comprehensively eliminate restrictions thatare not on the negative list.

China will accelerate the opening-up of the financial sector andoptimize the foreign investment policies for automobiles, Wang said.

Second, in promoting investment, China will optimize the scientificand technological innovation services for foreign-invested enterprisesand improve the construction of pilot free trade zones.

Third, in deepening reform to facilitate investment, China will lowerthe cost of cross-border capital use, make it easier for foreigners towork in China, and optimize the approval process for the use of land forforeign-funded projects.

Fourth, in protecting the legitimate rights and interests of foreigninvestors, China will fully implement the foreign investment law,establish and improve institutions for accepting complaints.

The country will also strengthen the standardization of theimplementation of regulatory policies and make the formulation ofregulatory documents more transparent, he said.

China will give full play to the role of judicial protection ofintellectual property rights (IPR), improve the IPR protectionmechanism, support both domestic and foreign enterprises in their fairparticipation in standardization, and ensure their equal participationin government procurement, Wang said.

FAIR GOVERNMENT PROCUREMENT SYSTEM

The guideline requires that all local governments and departmentsshall not discriminate against foreign-funded enterprises in aspectslike the release of government procurement information, and shall notrestrict the ownership form, organizational form, equity structure orinvestor country, as well as product or service brands of suppliers.

The Chinese government has been committed to establishing a levelplaying field in the government procurement system, said WangShaoshuang, an official with the Ministry of Finance (MOF).

If foreign-funded enterprises are not treated equally, they may raisecomplaints with the procurer, and if the procurer fails to give a replywithin the time limit, or if the supplier is dissatisfied with thereply, he or she may lodge a complaint with the financial department atthe same level, said the MOF official.

To maintain a level playing field in the market, foreign-fundedenterprises that do not participate in the government procurement canalso report to the MOF if they find unfair practices, he said.

BETTER IPR PROTECTION

The guideline demands the improvement of mechanisms for rapid andcoordinated IPR protection and joint disciplinary action against credit,the improvement of the IPR protection mechanism for e-commerce, and theestablishment of a comprehensive and diversified resolution mechanismfor intellectual property disputes.

China has strengthened its IPR protection with unprecedentedintensity in recent years, said Zhang Zhicheng, an official with theNational Intellectual Property Administration.

For example, to deter firms from infringing upon IPR, China has beenworking to improve the system of punitive damages for infringement,Zhang said.

Meanwhile, China has raised the efficiency of its approval processfor trademark patents. At present, the average approval cycle forinvention patents is just under two years, and the time of approval fortrademark registration averages less than five months, Zhang said.Enditem