The world expects a more transparent and fair Chinese market, says forum

China has achieved great progress in fostering an open business environment and is expected to make more efforts in this direction, business leaders and scholars said Tuesday on the sidelines of the second China International Import Expo (CIIE) in Shanghai.

With the theme of opening-up, regulation and business environment, one of the five parallel sessions at the Hongqiao International Economic Forum discussed the role of governance from the perspective of multinationals in building a convenient business environment.

Jin Liqun, president and chairman of Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) stressed the importance of predictability, transparency and credibility of the business environment, adding that China's experience is helpful for many other developing countries.

"We welcome President Xi's remarks at CIIE 2019 that reaffirmed China's commitment to policies that enable greater foreign investment by equalizing the market for foreign companies, greater intellectual property protection, and reforming regulations that will facilitate market access for many products," said Mike Roman, chairman and CEO of 3M.

VCG Photo

VCG Photo

3M has been doing business in China for 35 years and established one of its four R&D centers in Shanghai. 

"The introduction of the foreign investment law is very exciting, but it needs to be implemented step by step," said Rachel Duan, president and chief executive officer of GE Global, adding that multinationals including GE expects to bring innovation to China, while this requires a better protection of intellectual property by the local government for the companies.

Gary Clyde Hufbauer, senior fellow of Peterson Institute for International Economics also expected the Chinese government to be able to initiate more efforts to implement the new law effectively. 

Lin Guijun, executive director of Academy of China Open Economy Studies of UIBE said that the demand side in China is more fundamental to companies, and issues such as imbalanced development in the east and west of China ask for more targeted policies to stimulate the development potential of different regions.

China is a large market compared to the UK, said Emma Walmsley, CEO of GlaxoSmithKline, adding that the country now is very capable in many new technologies.

According to the Ease of Doing Business 2020 report released by World Bank this year, China ranked 31 in the world in terms of ease of doing business. Two years earlier, it was still 78, representing a whopping 47-place jump.

Fu Gangfeng, director of the board and president of China COSCO SHIPPING Corporation Limited warned the prevailing unilateralism recently has a negative impact on the global trade economy.

"For the global economy, the cumulative effect of trade conflicts could mean a loss of around 700 billion U.S. dollars by 2020, or about 0.8 percent of GDP," Kristalina Georgieva, the new chief of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), said last month.

"China is continuously more open and no economy can stand alone. While as a multinational company, COSCO has benefited from global integration and also has served global economic and trade cooperation,” Fu said.

Chinese companies going global has greatly benefited from stable bilateral economic relations under the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), said Fu, stressing that to promote local development is an important principle for Chinese companies when going global.