Economic Watch: Bigger role of market after China shortens unified negative list for market access

Source: Xinhua| 2019-11-22 20:11:09|Editor: huaxia
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BEIJING, Nov. 22 (Xinhua) -- China will unleash greater market vitality as it has cut the number of sectors that are off-limits or requires approval for investment in its 2019 negative list for market access.

The shortened list contains 131 administrative measures on investment, down 20, or 13 percent, from the 2018 version released last December, according to the list jointly released by the Ministry of Commerce and the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) on Friday.

Among the reduced items, the list eases market access for the establishment of nursing homes and social welfare institutions. Industries, fields and businesses not on the list are open to all market players.

This is the first annual revision since China fully implemented the system at the end of last year, indicating the system is growing more sound.

The negative list system of market access is not only a key part of the modern market system, but also an important means of stabilizing investment and expectations, said Guo Liyan, a researcher with the Chinese Academy of Macroeconomic Research.

Unlike the negative list for foreign investment market access released in June, the unified list applies to all market players including both domestic and foreign investors.

The negative list for market access and the negative list for foreign investment jointly form a unified legal system for market access in China, said Shen Haiping, an associate professor at the Law School of Shanghai University of International Business and Economics.

Both domestic and foreign investors need only to consult the negative list to know whether they can invest in their industry, field or business of choice without having to search through a pile of laws and regulations, Shen said.

China will step up efforts to break down hidden barriers to market access and establish long-term mechanisms to ensure that problems that have been tackled do not recur, Guo said.

In the future, the key is to identify unreasonable restrictions and hidden barriers to market access, while China will further relax restrictions on market access, particularly in the service sector, according to the NDRC.