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Tuesday, September 15, 2015, 20:17

Xi seeks to open economy wider to world

By Xinhua

BEIJING - China's economy must open wider to the outside world to add fuel to national growth, Chinese President Xi Jinping told the body in charge of steering the country's reform on Tuesday.

"China should make unswerving efforts to attract foreign investment and foreign technology, and improve the mechanism for the country's opening up," he said at the 16th meeting of the Central Leading Group for Deepening Overall Reform.

Promoting opening up while pushing forward reforms will add new impetus and vitality and provide new room for economic growth, Xi said.

The leading group adopted a series of guidelines covering subjects including a negative list approach to regulating market access, relaxed border control policies, encouraging state-owned enterprises to absorb private capital and granting permanent residence permits to foreigners.

Negative list

According to an official statement, it was decided in the meeting that China will make a negative list to identify sectors and businesses that are off-limits for investment and gradually improve the list through pilot programs.

The move is significant in giving the market a bigger role in allocating resources, building a law-based business environment and making the market more open, the statement suggests.

The move encourages companies to make independent decisions and participate in fair competition.

The government should thoroughly loosen controls on powers that should be delegated to companies, and make sure that companies in sectors outside the negative list can decide how to run their businesses, according to the statement.

The statement also said China will allow border areas to explore new models of cross-border economic cooperation and new mechanisms for promoting regional growth.

In a bid to open up state-controlled sectors, more areas will be open to private investment.

"The government will not change its policy toward foreign investment, and will protect the lawful interests of foreign-funded companies and provide better services for them," said the statement.

'Green card' applications

It was also decided in the meeting that China will make it easier for foreigners to apply for permanent residence permits, or "green card," in a move to attract more talent from overseas.

"China will manage foreigners' permanent residence in a reasonable, open and pragmatic manner," said the statement.

Foreign employees working in seven kinds of companies or institutions, including national labs, engineering research centers, technology centers of state-accredited high-tech companies and foreign-funded R&D centers, are currently able to apply.

Applicants must hold professional titles at or above the level of associate professor or associate fellow and must have been working in China for more than four years with sound tax records.

Candidates should file applications to municipal-level public security departments where they work.

Foreigners with permanent residence will enjoy the same rights as Chinese citizens in areas such as investment, house purchases and schooling.

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