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President hails role of foreign companies

By XIE CHUANJIAO in Qingdao, Shandong China Daily Updated: 2019-10-21
Attendees are pictured at the Qingdao Multinationals Summit held in the eastern coastal city of Qingdao, Shandong province on Oct 19. [Photo provided to]

Global entrepreneurs are welcome to invest in China and strive for win-win outcomes to create a better future for both sides, President Xi Jinping said on Saturday.

China's door will only open wider, the business environment will only get better, and opportunities for global multinationals will only increase, said Xi, who is also general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission, in a congratulatory letter to the Qingdao Multinationals Summit.

The summit was held over the weekend in Qingdao, Shandong province.

As important participants and beneficiaries, multinationals have played a positive role in China's 40-plus years of reform and opening-up, Xi said in the letter, which was read by Vice-Premier Han Zheng during the summit's opening ceremony.

The summit was hosted by the Ministry of Commerce and the Shandong provincial government. Themed "Multinationals and China", the two-day event featured closed-door meetings, parallel panels and road shows, with a total of 115 Fortune 500 companies and 197 industry leaders in attendance.

Han, also a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee, said that China will foster a better business environment for multinational companies by further lowering tariffs and scrapping all kinds of non-tariff barriers, and that China is willing to strengthen exchanges and cooperation in innovative and intelligent manufacturing, green development, global governance and other areas.

China had 961,000 foreign-invested enterprises as of the end of 2018, with foreign capital reaching $2.1 trillion, according to a report issued during the summit.

Although they account for less than 3 percent of all companies in China, foreign-invested enterprises have become an important player in the economy, contributing nearly half the country's foreign trade, one-fourth of the output value and profits of industrial enterprises and one-fifth of tax revenue, according to the report, which was released by the Ministry of Commerce.

The government attaches great importance to foreign direct investment. China's Foreign Investment Law will take effect on Jan 1, aiming to provide better legal guarantees for FDI.

Alain Crozier, Microsoft corporate vice-president and chairman and CEO of the greater China region, said that his company's largest research and development operations outside the US are in China.

"We are making new investments to support the successful digital transformation of the Chinese economy, while at the same time protecting China's digital security, respecting its digital sovereignty and continuing to help develop its technology ecosystem and talent," Crozier said.

Han Seung-soo, former prime minister of South Korea, said multinationals should defend the multilateral economic system and contribute more to international relations.

"These companies also have important roles in globalization and international capital flows," Han added.