BEIJING, Feb. 21 (Xinhua) -- China will continue to reduce access restrictions to facilitate the inflow of foreign investment, Commerce Minister Gao Hucheng said Tuesday.
He made the remarks at a press conference when answering a question about concerns of "a rush of capital flight" from the country.
The minister dismissed the concerns as biased, saying the year-on-year drop in foreign direct investment (FDI) into the Chinese mainland last month is not reflective of China's appeal to foreign investors.
FDI inflow stood at 80.1 billion yuan (12 billion U.S. dollars) last month, down 9.2 percent year on year, due to a high comparison base and holiday factors, official data showed.
China utilized some 126 billion U.S. dollars of foreign investment in 2016, a year-on-year increase of 4.1 percent, while global foreign direct investment plummeted, he said.
He said that some drainage did occur but was replenished by soaring FDI into sectors including pharmaceutical manufacturing, medical equipment and hi-tech services, which registered increases of 55.8 percent, 95 percent and 86.1 percent respectively.
The inflow and outflow of FDI were decided by the market's decisive role in resource allocation, he said.
In 2017, China will roll out favorable policies to encourage FDI into the country's central, western and northeastern regions, while replicating the successes of the country's pilot free trade zones, Gao said.
Foreign-funded enterprises will be assured a level playing field in their competition with local players, he added.
China will remain the most competitive and appealing destination of foreign investment as the growing economy is accompanied by an improved market economic system, he said.