Damp squib: China’s foreign investment
For two decades, foreign direct investment flooded into China at an astonishing clip. But after reaching a peak of some $300 billion in 2013, foreign inflows have cooled just as Chinese direct investment overseas has skyrocketed.
To win back jittery investors, China’s leaders have promised to liberalise investment laws. On Saturday several much-heralded revisions to China’s foreign-investment laws will come into force. Leaders promise a shift from a regime reliant on politicised administrative approvals to a registration system involving just a short “negative list” of forbidden investments. Sadly there is less to the latest reforms than meets the eye.
Nothing in them puts foreign firms on an equal legal footing with local ones, for example. Also, there are already signs of bureaucratic resistance to the shift to a registration system. Leaders must do more if they want to persuade foreign investors the welcome mat is out.

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