China 'needs say' on investment rules

Updated: 2013-01-12 01:52

By Li Jiabao (China Daily)

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China should increase its influence on the drafting and establishment of global investment rules to help promote cross-border investment and facilitate further expansion by Chinese companies, experts said on Friday.

China exceeded the United States to become the world's largest recipient of FDI in the first six months of 2012, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, or UNCTAD, said in a report in October.

Commerce Minister Chen Deming said in late December that FDI flowing to China will reach $110 billion in 2012. Meanwhile, the non-financial ODI of China, the world's fifth-largest nation in terms of outbound investment, will surpass $70 billion in 2012.

"In view of China's position in global investment, the country should play a bigger role in establishing global investment rules," said Sun Zhenyu, chairman of China Society for World Trade Organization Studies on Friday.

"China's combined ODI, taking into account financial ODI, surpassed the country's FDI in 2012," said Sun, also China's former ambassador to the WTO.

Trade and investment protectionism is growing amid the sluggish world economy, but the world "does not have an exclusive mechanism of global investment, as the WTO oversees global trade", he added.

"In addition to some provisions by the WTO, global investment rules are mainly based on bilateral investment agreements while many obstacles, such as national security, which have no clear definition, can be abused, posing a challenge to global investment."

UNCTAD's flagship publication, World Investment Report 2012, released in July, predicted that global FDI will grow from $1.6 trillion in 2012 to $1.8 trillion in 2013 and $1.9 trillion in 2014.

Eddie Chen, vice-president and chief representative in China of Invest Sweden, said China has a "good opportunity" to increase its influence in drafting global investment rules.

"The next decade of global investment will see more players from emerging economies, with China being the leading one," Chen said.

Chen said China should join forces with other emerging economies in promoting global investment rules.

Liu Yanzhou, managing director of Beijing Ring New Venture Capital Management Co Ltd, called for a coordination mechanism to safeguard the participation of small and medium-sized enterprises, the major players in economic innovation, in global investment.

Sun also called on the Chinese government to improve the investment environment.

He said that the government should cut red tape, devote more efforts to protecting intellectual property rights and resolve problems concerning national treatment of foreign companies in China.

"Moreover, more common views should be reached between China and the West on regulating government and corporate behavior," added Sun.

Wang Zhile, president of Beijing New Century Academy on Transnational Corporations, said that the promotion of global investment rules would not only boost mutual investment but also facilitate Chinese companies tapping into international markets.

Wang said that the double-digit growth in sales and profits of world's top 500 transnational companies in 2010 and 2011, if continued in the next two years, will lift the sluggish world economy.

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