Chongqing- West China saw an increase in foreign investments in 2019, as Chongqing Municipality in the Southwest got an addition of 223 foreign-invested enterprises from 41 countries and regions last year. Complaints from foreign enterprises could be dealt within 30 working days, as Sichuan and Chongqing have signed a strategic cooperation agreement to build a cross-administrative complaint handling mechanism that allows for unified planning, cooperation, and implementation in support of foreign enterprise, and to further high-quality development in the Chengdu-Chongqing Economic Circle.
The Chongqing Association of Enterprises with Foreign Investment (CQAEFI) is part of the mechanism, awarded an institutional workstation plaque to provide a foreign investment and enterprise complaints service.
Established in 1988 as a subsidiary of the Chongqing Municipal Commission of Commerce, CQAEFI is a 4A rated non-profit organization that offers voluntary membership for foreign-invested enterprises. At present, the association has 768 member enterprises from over 30 countries, 80 of which are Fortune 500 companies.
Important roles the association has undertaken include assistance in the holding of city leadership symposiums to facilitate communication between government and enterprise. Through such events, strategies for improving the business environment for foreign investors are put forward.
On the ground, they assist foreign companies to settle and develop in Chongqing through handling complaints and safeguarding their legitimate rights and interests.
Extensive contact is maintained with foreign embassies, consulates and chambers of commerce in the Chengdu-Chongqing Economic Circle, and advocate shared responsibility in economic and social development, such as donations in support of education, environmental protection, and poverty relief.
In recent years, the association has focused on the integration of the “One Belt, One Road” strategy and construction of the mainland open economic strategy, with a commitment to promoting the rule of law for a conducive business environment, as well as a corporate culture that is equitable, inclusive and diversified.
In 2019, Chongqing Municipality saw the addition of 223 foreign-invested enterprises from 41 countries and regions. The main sources of foreign investment originate from Hong Kong, Singapore, and South Korea.
There are four main types of assistance that foreign investors require, namely policy consultation, commercial mediation, and intellectual property rights.
Based on the 2019 Chongqing Foreign Investment Environment Evaluation Report, the level of satisfaction among foreign-invested enterprises regarding communication with government bodies rose from 82% to 90% between 2016 and 2019. The corresponding reduction in complaints also serves to demonstrate the importance of government endeavors to improve the business environment.
Complaints are submitted in written form by letter, fax, or e-mail. On receipt, the relevant agency reviews the material and decides whether to accept within 5 working days.
When a complaint is accepted, the handling agency first offers suggestions to the involved parties to facilitate resolution. Secondly, it coordinates with government departments and lastly resorts to other appropriate methods, including cross-administrative collaboration.
Agencies handle cases within 30 working days, but an extended period may be granted should disputes be unusually complex in nature or when parties fail to cooperate, subject to approval from the agency director responsible for complaints acceptance.
Whatever the circumstances, foreign and domestic funded enterprises have always been afforded equal treatment. In addition, the ‘Implementation Regulations of the Foreign Investment Law’ elaborates on the equal treatment of domestic and foreign companies in finer detail.
Moreover, in order to optimize the foreign investment environment, the Ministry of Commerce has revised the Interim Working Measures for Complaints from Foreign Invested Enterprises and will solicit public opinions on the Working Measures for Complaints from Foreign Invested Enterprises (Consultation Paper), which has served to further clarify and better protect the legitimate rights and interests of foreign investment.
Since the establishment of the Foreign Complaint Center of the Chongqing Municipal People’s Government, the case satisfaction rate has been maintained at 100%, a figure that reflects the satisfaction among foreign-invested enterprises with the complaint handling system.
Sichuan and Chongqing have signed a strategic cooperation agreement to build a cross-administrative complaint handling mechanism that allows for unified planning, cooperation, and implementation in support of foreign enterprise, and to further high-quality development in the Chengdu-Chongqing Economic Circle.
In recent years, foreign enterprise associations have organized participation in Sichuan-Chongqing investment and trade fairs. Among them, association members in Chongqing participated in the West Expo in Sichuan to assess prospects for investment, while in Chengdu, members participated in the China Chongqing Smart Expo.
In the future, these cross administrative associations will continue assisting each other to solve difficulties in investment, production, and operation.
Sichuan and Chongqing are taking the opportunity to turn the Economic Circle and national policy into a financially advantageous, stable, transparent, and fair business environment for foreign-invested enterprises.
Additionally, the ‘2019 Chongqing Foreign Investment Environment Assessment Report’ shows that foreign-invested enterprises have growing confidence in the development of Chongqing.
57% of such enterprises interviewed expressed optimism about development prospects for the next two years. 68% indicated the intention to expand their existing scale, invest in new projects, mergers, and acquisitions, an increase of 7% in the past year.
In view of business surveys over the past four years, Chongqing is still an important destination for foreign investment.
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