• Included in his itinerary are the countries of Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Iran, the three major players in the Middle East.

Included in his itinerary are the countries of Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Iran, the three major players in the Middle East. (Photo : Getty Images)

Beijing is set to “substantially cut back” restrictions on foreign investment to enter the Chinese market and build an economy with an even higher level of openness, President Xi Jinping said in a regional business gathering on Wednesday, Nov. 18, amid global concerns over China’s slowing growth.

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Addressing the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) CEO Summit, Xi reassured regional economic and political leaders that the world's second-largest economy is capable of withstanding downward pressures in the market.

The fundamentals of China's economy remain positive, the economy has great potential and is proving resilient to the pains of deepening reform, and there is ample room to maneuver, said Xi.

His remarks came as China faces growing pressure from the sluggish economy and criticism from overseas companies over obstacles to market access.

"We will step up reforms of the foreign investors management system, substantially cut back on market access restrictions for foreign investment, improve IPR protection, and foster an open, transparent, fair and highly efficient market environment," Xi said.

"Here I would like to reiterate that China's policy on welcoming foreign investment will not change, nor will its protection of the legitimate rights and interests of foreign invested companies, or its commitment to provide better services for them," the president added. "China's door to the outside world will forever stay open."

Shackled by cooling foreign investment and the effects of economic reforms aimed at shifting the economy away from reliance on trade and investment, China's economy grew by 6.9 percent year-on-year in the third quarter of 2015, its weakest pace since the global financial crisis of 2008-2009.

Xi also warned of "fragmentation" caused by regional trade deals and suggested Asia-Pacific economies to speed up the implementation of the Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific initiative, which includes all APEC economies.

The Asia-Pacific market has seen a number of regional trade agreements in recent years, including the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a 12-nation trade agreement led by the United States.

Stressing the importance of making free trade agreements open and inclusive, Xi said that such agreements require equal participation and extensive consultation.

China's pledge to cut market access restrictions is expected to nationally promote the negative list mode, said Zhang Jianping, director of the International Economic Cooperation Institute at the National Development and Reform Commission.