World / Europe

Europe 'cautiously optimistic' over business in China

By ZHOU WA ( Updated: 2015-09-08 20:35

The European Union Chamber of Commerce in China published its European Business in China - Position Paper 2015/2016 on Tuesday, saying that EU companies hold a cautiously optimistic attitude toward the business environment in China and hope China will speed up its reform.

The Chamber affirmed Beijing's statements on reforms during the Third Plenary Session of the 18th Communist Party of China Central Committee.

The paper believes statements from Beijing "have never been more encouraging to business", given the fact that steps have been taken, such as the introduction and subsequent reduction of areas of business not permissible to foreigners or 'negative lists' as well a reduced Foreign Investment Industrial Guidance Catalogue.

Meanwhile, progress on the Comprehensive Agreement on Investment as well as the increase in free trade zones also bodes well for EU-China commercial relations.

According to Chamber President Joerg Wuttke, EU companies from manufacturing industries, such as chemical and automobile, are those which benefit most from economic reforms in China.

However, the paper also urges the Chinese leadership to make good on market reform promises that can firm up the nation's softening economy while bolstering trust among European and international businesses.

EU companies, especially in service industries including banking and logistics, believe reform so far should be speeded up so that they can benefit more from it, said Wuttke

"The Chinese leadership's most pressing issue now is how to move ahead with promised reforms that will right an unbalanced economy and solve the systemic issues that risk derailing its economic transformation. In short, China's leadership will need the audacity to change," said Wuttke.

The paper shows that areas requiring China's immediate focus include acceleration of financial system reform, limiting state engagement in the economy, increasing market access for the private sector as well as foreign business and fully committing to the rule of law.

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