China says criticism of its foreign investment environment is biased

Criticism of China's foreign investment environment is biased, the commerce ministry said on Tuesday, as commentary mounts that it is more difficult for overseas firms to invest in China than it is for Chinese firms to invest overseas.

"Why are there complaints? Because foreign companies in China that rely on low costs and preferential treatment are now struggling," Shen Danyang, a ministry spokesman, told reporters.

"Companies that rely on preferential policies to make easy money feel the environment has worsened. But for companies with real foresight, real competitiveness, they will feel that the investment environment has improved."

China's foreign investment environment is not deteriorating, Shen said.

The outlook for China trade remains tough and the government is not "blindly optimistic", he added.

China, while asking in public for more openness and steps to counter protectionism, is still giving Western investors only very limited access to their market, a European official said after the country hosted a G20 leaders' summit earlier this month.

A big concern for foreign investors in China is what they see as the increasing difficulty of doing business in China, driven by concern that new laws and policies are seeking to effectively shut out foreigners or make life very hard for them.