China’s new investment law offers legal guarantee for high-level opening up: deputies

By Huan Xiang from People’s Daily
The enaction of the new foreign investment law would provide a stronger legal guarantee for a new round of high-level opening up, and also declare China’s determination and confidence in driving high-quality growth with high-standard opening up, deputies to the ongoing annual legislative session said after reviewing the latest draft of the proposed law.
A highlight of the draft law is to optimize business environment and build a more attractive market by managing domestic and foreign enterprises under a unified set of rules, said Wang Suilian, a deputy to the 13th National People’s Congress (NPC).
A fair market environment should be created to ensure that foreign enterprises are willing to invest in and can develop well in China, so that they could stay in China rather than leaving in days, added the national legislator, who is also deputy director of the Standing Committee of Shandong Provincial People’s Congress and chairperson of the federation of industry and commerce of Shandong province.
Upon adoption, the unified law will replace the three existing laws that have been working as China’s legal guarantee for foreign capital absorbing after China embarked on the journey of reform and opening up.
The law on equity joint ventures was put into effect in 1979, opening the door to attracting foreign investors. The ones on non-equity joint ventures and wholly foreign-owned enterprises were enacted in the 1980s responding to the different needs of foreign investors.
The three laws could hardly catch up with the changing requirements in deepening reforms, as the country’s reform has entered the deep water zone where tough challenges must be met, while opening up also faced with new updates, said Zhang Sujun, vice president of the China Law Society.
The replacement underscores China’s efforts to further facilitate foreign investment with detailed institutional design, added Zhang, also a NPC deputy.
The new law will help China attract more foreign investors, as it includes more measures to protect the foreign investment than the previous management regulations, said Feng Fan, director of Jiangxi Newstar Law Firm.
It also incorporates a series of innovative provisions on promoting, protecting and managing those investment, said the NPC deputy, adding that if the new law is adopted, supporting rules should be introduced as soon as possible.
“Equal treatment of domestic and foreign investment is high on the agenda of the draft,” said Zhou Hongjiang, president of Shandong-based wine producer Changyu.
The draft makes it clear that the state shall manage foreign investment according to the system of pre-establishment national treatment plus a negative list, added the national legislator, hailing that it also stands for progress and improvement of China’s foreign investment legal system.
Deputies also suggested providing foreign investors with national treatment on intellectual property rights (IPR) protection.
Mai Jiaomeng, NPC deputy also the director of the Market Supervision Administration of Guangdong province, advised tightened law enforcement on IPR protection in the future, citing the stepped-up efforts to crack down on IPR infringement crime, locate counterfeit sources, and punish repeating and malicious infringements.
He also suggested efforts to improve coordination mechanisms of administrative law enforcement and judicial protection, better local legislation, raise the amount of statutory compensation for IPR infringement, and accelerate the building of centers on IPR protection and guarantee.

A Tesla’s Model 3 is being exhibited at the foundation-laying ceremony of the Phase I project of Tesla’s super factory in Shanghai. The largest foreign-invested manufacturing project in Shanghai started construction in Lingang area on January 7, 2019. (Photo: Xinhua News Agency)

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