A shorter negative list for foreign investment in China will be released in the first half to expand market access, said Wang Shouwen, an official with the commerce ministry.

Vice minister of commerce and deputy China international trade representative Wang Shouwen, told a press conference that the ministry was collaborating with relevant departments to further trim the negative list and optimize the investment environment for foreign-funded companies.

He said that the ministry is considering making an industrial catalog to encourage foreign investment, especially for central and western parts of China.

As the Foreign Investment Law approved by the national legislature will take effect starting from Jan. 1, 2020, the ministry is mulling supporting regulations and feasible rules to foster a stable, transparent, predictable and level playing market environment, he said.

The ministry will ensure protection of the rights and interests of foreign intellectual property owners, forbid forced technical transfers and protect business secrets. China will also make efforts to better handle complaints received from foreign investors.