BEIJING – European companies operating in China urged the government on Tuesday to continue and extend economic reforms and reduce global trade tensions through changes at the domestic level.
The European Union Chamber of Commerce in China on Tuesday released a report analyzing Beijing’s reform agenda since January 2017, when President Xi Jinping had pledged to globalize the economy at the World Economic Forum in Davos.
“It is no longer sufficient for China to aim to become more open, more equitable, and better regulated,” said European Chamber President Mats Harborn, urging China to convert its words into reality.
“In order to meet the demands of the Chinese economy and to diffuse rapidly-rising global tensions, China must shift to an absolute perspective that results in China simply becoming an open, equitable and well-regulated place to do businesses,” he added.
Harborn said that China needed more reforms and should introduce an agenda to provide a level-playing field for international and domestic companies.
The report includes the results of a poll conducted among companies of the Chamber, which showed that European firms in China agreed that there had been progress in reforms in the country due to measures taken in the last year.
However, almost two-thirds of the companies continued to feel that they faced worse conditions than Chinese businesses.
“Urgent actions are needed to reduce the overwhelming dominance of state-owned enterprises,” the report said.
According to the document, there has been significant progress in environmental protection, local business environments, research and development, and consumer goods, although it added that the dominance of state-sector companies and protection of intellectual property rights continued to be problem areas.
The report comes amid a trade dispute between Beijing and Washington, which started with the United States imposing import tariffs, and ahead of the upcoming China-EU summit, in which the EU is set to demand more access for foreign companies in closed or restricted sectors of the Chinese economy.