March 21, 2017 / 12:19 AM / 2 years ago

China Premier Li says will further open services, industries: Xinhua

FILE PHOTO: China's Premier Li Keqiang arrives for a news conference after the closing ceremony of China's National People's Congress (NPC) at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China, March 15, 2017. REUTERS/Damir Sagolj/File Photo

SHANGHAI (Reuters) - Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said the country will further open its services, manufacturing and mining sectors to the outside world, the official Xinhua news agency reported on Tuesday, even as foreign enterprises struggle with protectionist policies.

The premier’s comments come as President Xi Jinping seeks to project China as the world’s leading free trade advocate and despite recent observations from some foreign firms that they are less welcome in China now than they were in the past.

Li said on Monday China will streamline administrative procedures for foreign investments and ensure a level playing field for companies registered in the country, Xinhua reported the premier saying at a meeting held during the China Development Forum in Beijing.

China supports foreign-funded firms to list and issue bonds in the country and participate in national science and technology programs and infrastructure projects, said Li.

He invited more foreign companies to invest in China, co-operate with Chinese enterprises and engage in development opportunities, said Xinhua.

Li said he hopes other countries overcome issues and friction caused by globalization by communicating effectively, according to Xinhua.

Among the attendees were HSBC Chief Executive Stuart Gulliver, former U.S. Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers and Apple CEO Tim Cook.

Li’s comments contrast with those of a senior minister on Sunday who said China’s policy of restricting market access is important for domestic growth.

Reporting by Engen Tham; Editing by Sam Holmes

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