China Signals Move to Ease International-Travel Requirements to Lure Investment

Chinese authorities Tuesday signaled a move to ease international-travel requirements as part of incentives to attract more foreign investment into the country.

In a joint notice issued by regulators including the National Development and Reform Commission, the government asked authorities to make it more convenient for multinational companies’ executives, technicians and their families to travel to China.

The notice also said that all localities should make good use of the “fast lanes” for the personnel exchanges and further clarify the standards and procedures for foreign personnel to come to and leave China.

The notice, published by the NDRC on its website primarily aiming to attract manufacturing investment, provided no further detail, though it said it would strengthen the “service guarantee” for foreign companies so that their personnel can come to and leave the country.

China’s strict Covid-19 controls have made it hard for multinational companies operating in the country to send new personnel to replace those leaving China since the start of the pandemic. Government-mandated long quarantines and widespread lockdowns that could confine residents to their homes for weeks, as seen in cities such as Shanghai earlier this year, have made it hard for companies to maintain foreign talents in China.

The regulators’ notice also encouraged authorities to organize international industrial investment events for semiconductor and healthcare companies, as well as economic forums for local and global companies to exchange views and information.

By prioritizing Covid controls, China has canceled many large-scale public events in the past two and half years. The stringent centralized quarantine requirements also dissuaded many people from traveling to China.

The government’s Tuesday notice also said it would also ensure that foreign companies are able to get land, logistics and other resources needed to expand investment in China.

–Grace Zhu

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