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New reforms to boost investment

2020-1-13 10:49

 

Integration of China into global economy to deepen on the back of improved rankings

The task of deepening the integration of China into the global economy is posing a series of challenges to the Chinese authorities as it requires improvements to the local standards of doing business, additional measures beyond the opening-up policy, and enhanced legislations, experts said.

China ranked 31st in the World Bank's Doing Business 2020 report, and among the top 10 fastest-reforming countries around the world for two years in a row.

What's more, in terms of the best environment for "doing business", China moved up the rankings by almost 50 places during the past four years, joining the world's top 30 countries.

The latest edition of the World Bank Doing Business report acknowledges the 10 economies that improved the most in terms of "ease of doing business" after implementing regulatory reforms: China, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Togo, Bahrain, Tajikistan, Pakistan, Kuwait, India, and Nigeria.

These 10 economies implemented a total of 59 regulatory reforms, accounting for one-fifth of all the reforms recorded worldwide. Their efforts focused primarily on the areas of starting a business, dealing with construction permits, and trading across borders, the report said.

It indicated that, in 2018 alone, China implemented significant reforms in eight out of 10 "doing business" areas, from starting a business, through construction permits and getting electricity, to paying taxes and registering property.

Improvement in dealing with construction permits, for example, has been particularly notable. While only a few years ago, it took more than a year to get a construction permit in Beijing, now it takes just 93 days.

China has managed to combine the substantial progress in streamlining the regulations with enhancing their quality: it now scores all 15 points on the building control quality process, supporting public safety.

 

In March 2018, Premier Li Keqiang said in the annual Government Work Report that China would set the stage for municipal governments to implement a reform agenda.

Then standards of the Doing Business report became the benchmark, aligned with the central government's ambition to improve the competitiveness of the Chinese economy.

Following that, the Chinese government created working groups targeting each of the "doing business" indicators.

But, the doing business reforms may not be sufficient on their own to sustain China's remarkable performance, said Yang Shaolin, managing director of the World Bank.

"This is because the quality of the business environment goes beyond the doing business ranking.

"One important dimension of this is the environment faced by foreign investors. In recent months, China has taken some steps to improve legislation, through the Foreign Investment Law, and to reduce restrictions in, for instance, the financial or in the automobile sector.

"The legislative improvements are important. A key concern is consistent implementation, including at the local government level."

In addition, opening up key service industries would not only bring additional capital to China but enhance competition and contribute to higher productivity growth. It would also increase the chance of improving trade and investment relations with key partners and facilitate the conclusion of new trade and investment agreements, said Yang.

"This in turn would help to reduce the current uncertainty we face in the world economy and provide a boost not just to foreign but also domestic investment in China."

According to the Ministry of Finance, the next round of reforms to continually improve the business environment has started. The sample cities in China, to be evaluated by the World Bank for the next rankings, may be expanded to four from two (Beijing and Shanghai) in the report. The candidate cities, however, have not been identified yet.

Chinese Finance Minister Liu Kun said at a forum in Beijing on Nov 22 that in recent years, the Ministry of Finance, various government departments, and Beijing and Shanghai municipal governments have jointly participated in the World Bank's global business environment assessment and promoted a series of reforms, taking the "global best practices" as guidance.

The reforms also promoted opening-up, in line with the international rules and standards.

Although the World Bank's annual assessment measures the government's regulation from the point of view of domestic entrepreneurs, it is also correlated with regulation affecting foreign direct investment or FDI.

 

Foreign investment in China has been showing steady growth. According to figures released by the Ministry of Commerce, FDI rose 6.5 percent in renminbi terms and 2.9 percent in US dollar terms in the first three quarters of last year compared with 2018.

However, experts said that the US-China trade ties and the slowing Chinese economy may pile pressure on efforts to attract more FDI into the world's second-largest economy.

The new Foreign Investment Law, which came into force on Jan 1, is the latest move by China to improve the business environment, especially to encourage FDI.

The new law was approved by the National People's Congress, the country's top legislature, in March 2019. Overseas investors have been expecting this landmark law whose drafting began in 2015. Their hope is it will help improve the country's foreign investment policy framework.

Some key principles highlighted by the new law are: intellectual property rights of foreign businesses are deemed to be protected in the same way as the local firms; foreign investors can freely remit profits, capital gains and liquidation proceeds to their overseas entities, in renminbi or in foreign currency; and foreign investors should be equivalently treated as the Chinese companies (that is, they will enjoy the "national treatment").

"One of the key objectives of countries putting in place policies to encourage foreign investment is to lower barriers to business entry in order to stimulate domestic competition, provide local consumers with new products or services, expand employment opportunities and foster innovation-all of which are engines of growth," said Harry Broadman, managing director and chair of the emerging markets practice at the Berkeley Research Group and a member of the Johns Hopkins Faculty.

This new Foreign Investment Law, and its corresponding regulations that are implemented, mark one of the most significant developments in China's treatment of foreign investment, experts said.

Its new regulations intend to accelerate market opening reforms, level the playing field for foreign and domestic firms, and eliminate inconsistencies in the enforcement of laws, according to an article published by Dezan Shira & Associates, a Hong Kong-based pan-Asia, multi-disciplinary professional services firm.

Liu Shijin, deputy head of the economic committee of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, said that China still has room to catch up with best international practices to improve the ranking across the "doing business" indicators, in particular in the areas of getting credit, paying taxes, dealing with insolvency and trading across borders.

It is also a measure to strengthen foreign investors' confidence of doing business in China, he said.

"So far, the financial institutions and products for small and micro enterprises should be increased; and more State-owned capital can be transferred into the social security fund to reduce companies' burden of paying social security fees. Further, the insolvency mechanism for companies should be improved," said Liu.

Wang Yiming, vice-president of the Development Research Center of the State Council, China's Cabinet, said there are still many areas that need improvement, such as the restrictions on market access, and limits on private capital in certain fields like finance, healthcare, and education.

"Market supervision also needs to be improved, and there is no buffer period for some places to implement the new regulatory standards, or there is a one-size-fits-all approach. The efficiency and ability of government services need to be improved, and the credit system needs to be more efficient for cross-sector and cross-regional credit services," said Wang.

 

在排名提高的背景下,中国将进一步融入全球经济


专家表示,深化中国融入全球经济的任务对中国当局提出了一系列挑战,因为这需要改进当地的经商标准,在开放政策之外采取更多措施,以及加强立法。


中国在世界银行《营商环境报告2020》中排名第31位,连续两年跻身全球改革速度最快的10个国家之列。


此外,在最佳营商环境方面,中国在过去4年的排名上升了近50位,跻身全球前30位。


世界银行最新版《全球营商环境报告》承认,中国、沙特阿拉伯、约旦、多哥、巴林、塔吉克斯坦、巴基斯坦、科威特、印度和尼日利亚这10个经济体在实施监管改革后,在“营商环境改善程度”方面改善最大。


这10个经济体共实施了59项监管改革,占全球改革总量的五分之一。报告称,他们的努力主要集中在创业、办理建筑许可证和跨境贸易等领域。


报告指出,仅在2018年,中国就在10个“经商”领域中的8个实施了重大改革,从创业、通过建筑许可和获取电力,到纳税和财产登记。


例如,在处理建筑许可方面的进展尤为显著。就在几年前,在北京拿到建筑许可证还需要一年多的时间,而现在只要93天。


中国已成功地将简化监管的重大进展与提高监管质量结合起来:目前,中国在建筑质量控制过程中获得了全部15分,支持了公共安全。


2018年3月,李克强总理在年度政府工作报告中表示,中国将为市政府落实改革议程做好准备。


随后,《营商环境报告》的标准成为了基准,与中央政府提高中国经济竞争力的雄心相一致。


随后,中国政府成立了针对各项“营商环境”指标的工作组。


但世界银行(World Bank)董事总经理杨少林表示,仅靠营商环境改革可能不足以维持中国的卓越表现。


“这是因为商业环境的质量超出了《全球营商环境报告》的排名。


“其中一个重要方面是外国投资者面临的环境。近几个月来,中国采取了一些措施,通过《外商投资法》(Foreign Investment Law)来完善立法,并减少金融或汽车等行业的限制。


“立法方面的改进很重要。一个关键的问题是持续的执行,包括在地方政府一级。”


此外,开放关键的服务业不仅可以为中国带来更多的资本,而且可以增强竞争,促进生产率的提高。杨说,这还将增加与主要伙伴改善贸易和投资关系的机会,并有助于达成新的贸易和投资协定。


“这进而将有助于减少我们目前在世界经济中面临的不确定性,不仅提振外国在华投资,也提振中国国内投资。”


财政部表示,下一轮旨在持续改善商业环境的改革已经启动。世界银行(World Bank)将对中国的样本城市进行下一次排名评估,在报告中,这些城市可能会从两个(北京和上海)扩大到四个。然而,候选城市尚未确定。


中国财政部长刘坤在11月22日在北京一个论坛上表示,近年来,财政部、各政府部门、和北京和上海市政府共同参与了世界银行的全球商业环境评估和提升的一系列改革,以“全球最佳实践”为指导。


改革也促进了开放,符合国际规则和标准。


虽然世界银行的年度评估从国内企业家的角度衡量了政府的监管,但它也与影响外国直接投资或外国直接投资的监管相关。


外商在华投资稳步增长。根据商务部发布的数据,去年前三季度,以人民币计算的外商直接投资同比增长6.5%,以美元计算的外商直接投资同比增长2.9%。

 

然而,专家们表示,美中贸易关系和中国经济放缓,可能会给中国吸引更多外国直接投资的努力带来压力。中国是全球第二大经济体。


1月1日生效的新《外商投资法》,是中国改善商业环境、特别是鼓励外商直接投资的最新举措。


2019年3月,中国最高立法机关全国人民代表大会批准了这部新法律。海外投资者一直期待这部具有里程碑意义的法律,它的起草始于2015年。他们希望这将有助于改善该国的外国投资政策框架。


新法强调的一些关键原则是:外国企业的知识产权被视为与本土企业一样受到保护;外国投资者可以自由地将利润、资本利得和清算所得以人民币或外币汇往其海外实体;外国投资者应该和中国企业得到同等待遇(即享受“国民待遇”)。


“的一个关键目标国家实施鼓励外国投资的政策是降低业务进入壁垒,以刺激国内竞争,为当地消费者提供新的产品或服务,扩大就业机会,促进创新是经济增长的引擎,”哈利说Broadman,常务董事和主席新兴市场在伯克利分校研究小组练习和教师约翰霍普金斯大学的一员。


专家表示,这部新的外国投资法及其实施的相应规定,标志着中国对待外国投资最重要的进展之一。


总部位于香港的泛亚洲多学科专业服务公司协力管理咨询公司(Dezan Shira & Associates)发表的一篇文章说,中国的新规定旨在加快市场开放改革,为国内外企业创造公平的竞争环境,消除执法上的矛盾。


刘仕进,全国政协经济委员会副主任,中国人民政治协商会议,说,中国仍然有空间赶上最佳国际惯例提高排名在“做生意”指标,特别是在获得信贷、纳税、处理破产和跨境交易。


他说,这也是增强外国投资者在中国做生意的信心的一项措施。


“到目前为止,小微企业的金融机构和产品应该有所增加;增加国有资本划入社会保障基金,减轻企业缴纳社会保障费用的负担。此外,公司的破产机制应该得到改善。”


国务院发展研究中心副主任王一鸣表示,仍有许多领域需要改进,比如市场准入限制,以及金融、医疗和教育等领域对私人资本的限制。


“市场监管也需要改进,一些地方没有实施新监管标准的缓冲期,或者采取一刀切的做法。政府服务的效率和能力需要提高,信用体系需要提高跨部门和跨地区信用服务的效率。”

来自: china daily