China will safeguard equal treatment for foreign-funded firms, so that more foreign-funded enterprises can invest in the country with confidence and peace of mind, said Commerce Vice Minister Guo Tingting on Monday.

China will further expand high-level opening up to the outside world and create more market opportunities, said Guo at the China Development Forum in Beijing.

Guo did not give specific details about so-called national treatment – giving foreign individuals the same treatment as one’s own nationals, as per World Trade Organization (WTO) principles.

“China will fully guarantee national treatment for foreign companies, so that more foreign companies can invest in China with confidence and peace of mind,” Guo said.

China will firmly safeguard multilateral trading system with the WTO at its core, she said.

Over 100 overseas executives and investors were attending the forum and a series of smaller closed-door sessions with Chinese officials on March 24-25.

Foreign direct investment into China contracted by 8% last year, reflecting a shaky economic recovery and tension with the United States and its allies on a range of issues.

Chinese officials have been stepping up efforts to attract investors at a time when many companies have been looking to “de-risk” supply chains and operations away from China.

Premier Li Qiang said on Sunday that China will continue its efforts to build a first-class business environment and welcome enterprises from all over the world to invest in the country.

Earlier this month, China announced an economic growth goal of around 5% for this year and promised to transform the country’s development model to offset drag from a prolonged property crisis, high local government debt and weak consumer demand.

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