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December 29, 2021

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Govt fights illegal market barriers

China’s top economic planner this month published a list of 18 typical cases of local governments and authorities setting up illegal market barriers that curb fair competition.

The list is the first of its kind compiled by the National Development and Reform Commission, following which investigations into violations of the negative-list-based market access regime will be intensified and a regular report system of the typical violations will be established.

The cases involve some local governments and authorities erecting market access barriers by adding extra administrative licenses, imposing illegal administrative charges, and demanding enterprises to set up subsidiaries locally, among others. Irregularities in all 18 cases have been rectified, the NDRC said in a statement.

The negative list for market access, acting as an important “traffic light” for capital at the market entry point, outlines sectors, fields and businesses off-limits for investors, and concurrently gives the green light to all other areas.

The negative list for market access and the negative list for foreign investment jointly form a unified legal system for market access in China. Both domestic and foreign investors only need to consult the negative list to know whether they can invest in their industries and fields.

The negative list 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.

Revised on an annual basis, the 2020 negative list trimmed the number of items to 123 from 131 in 2019 and 151 in 2018. The number of items off-limits for foreign investors will be cut to 31 in the new 2021 national negative list from 33 in 2020.


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