Foreign investment into China increases at steady pace in January
Updated 07:30, 15-Feb-2019

Foreign investment into China grew steadily and the country's trade data in January beat expectations, the Ministry of Commerce (MOCFOM) said on Thursday.

The actual use of foreign investment in China stood at 84.18 billion yuan (12.45 billion U.S. dollars) in January, up 4.8 percent year on year.

The high-tech sector, especially the high-tech service sector, registered robust growth in January. The actual use of foreign investment in the high-tech sector continued to grow, rising 40.9 percent year on year, accounting for as much as 29 percent of the total. Also, the high-tech service sector saw a total of 15.77 billion yuan in foreign investment use in January, up 113.4 percent year on year.

The actual use of foreign investment in the manufacturing sector reached 26.73 billion yuan, up 5 percent year on year, and the figure in the service sector reached 56.2 billion yuan, up 5.1 percent year on year.

Foreign investment into central China registered rapid growth in January, with the actual use of foreign investment up 11.6 percent year on year to hit 7.04 billion yuan, according to MOFCOM.

Investment from the United States, the UK and the Netherlands surged last month, registering growth of 124.6 percent, 13.7 percent and 95.6 percent year on year, respectively.

While explaining the increase of foreign investment from the U.S. despite unsettled trade matters, MOFCOM spokesperson Gao Feng said "it's related to China's efforts in improving its business environment in recent years, especially over 2018 and we will continue these efforts.”

To create a better environment for foreign investors, Beijing has amended its new Industry Directory to Encourage Foreign Investment and is collecting public feedback over it now.

"In the draft of the directory, we have broadened the range of sectors where we encourage foreign investors to invest, including modern agriculture, advanced manufacturing, ecological construction, intelligent manufacturing and others,” Gao added.


Trade growth rate faster than expected

Total goods trade topped 2.73 trillion yuan, up 8.7 percent in January compared with the previous year, according to the General Administration of Customs.

Exports rose 13.9 percent year on year to 1.5 trillion yuan last month, while imports grew 2.9 percent to 1.23 trillion yuan.

The private sector stands out in trade performance, as private enterprises account for 42.3 percent of the total foreign trade, up 3 percentage points year on year.

China's trade with the EU, ASEAN countries and Japan increased 17.6 percent, 7.8 percent and 6.5 percent, respectively, while trade with countries along the Belt and Road registered a combined trade volume of 770.8 billion yuan, up 11.5 percent year on year.

MOFCOM spokesperson Gao Feng also briefed media about the latest progress of the Shanghai Pilot Free Trade Zone (FTZ). Gao said MOFCOM, together with other relevant departments, is stepping up efforts to select key areas of the Shanghai FTZ to implement effective policies based on the previous overall plans.

Meanwhile, as the new round of high-level economic and trade consultations between China and the U.S. kicked off in Beijing on Thursday, the MOFCOM spokesperson said he would update the latest results if there were any information.

(Wang Hui also contributed to this story)