Here’s what to expect from China’s key government meeting which kicks off this week
China has come under increased pressure from foreign countries that have complained of unequal business access to the local market. Points of contention include alleged forced transfer of technology and intellectual property protection. Trade tensions with the U.S. escalated last year after President Donald Trump announced additional tariffs on $250 billion worth of goods from China, and Beijing countered with its own duties on $110 billion worth of U.S. goods.
Against that backdrop, work on the proposed new foreign investment law has moved quickly. Less than three months ago, the NPC Standing Committee began soliciting comments on its first draft. NPC Observer, a blog founded by Harvard Law student Changhao Wei, pointed out in a post that the draft is “significantly” shorter than one from the Ministry of Commerce in 2015 and has removed most of the details. The blog noted a second version of the latest draft was released in late January and is similar to the December version.
“So, it’s statements on a lot of aspirations, and those are positive,” said Tim Stratford, chairman of the American Chamber of Commerce in China, said Monday at an event in Hong Kong. “But then, how are they going to be implemented in practice, that’s what we don’t know.”
“There’s so much of the business climate right now that sort of inspires a wait-and-see attitude, and I think we don’t like to wait and see,” said Stratford, who is also managing partner at law firm Covington and Burling’s Beijing office. “That’s not what we’re in our jobs for. We need to make decisions and we need to move ahead.”
— CNBC’s Kelly Olsen contributed to this report.