"The revision of foreign investment laws is a key project, and will probably be completed within the 12th Five-Year Plan," Wang said. That plan covers the years from 2011 to 2015.
"It's still hard to say what the final versions will be like. There may be a law called the foreign investment law. The essential thing is that it will shift from the regulation of enterprises to the supervision of investors and their investment behavior, and thus it will be an investment law.
"The revised foreign investment laws will define investors and investment conduct. Issues that are under discussion and that fall within the scope of the Company Law will not appear in the foreign investment law," he said.
"The stipulations in the Company Law will remain in force," Wang said.
He added that the Company Law, adopted in 1993 to regulate the organization and operation of companies, was enacted after the three laws that govern foreign investment.
The Law on Sino-Foreign Equity Joint Ventures was adopted in 1979. The Law on Foreign-Capital Enterprises was enacted in 1986, and the Law on Sino-Foreign Cooperative Joint Ventures was adopted in 1988.
"We are also reviewing the China (Shanghai) Pilot Free Trade Zone and studying whether the registration-oriented approach, supported by approvals, could be expanded to foreign companies across the country, which will help build a unified, open, competitive and orderly market," Wang said.
The zone, approved on Aug 22 last year and officially launched the following month, is serving as a trial region for the "negative list" approach, which details sectors barred to foreign investment, as well as "pre-establishment national treatment", which gives foreign enterprises the same treatment as domestic companies.
Wang Zhile, a senior researcher on foreign investment at the Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation, has urged that foreign investment laws be combined with the Company Law, which will provide overseas companies on the Chinese mainland with national treatment and lay the foundations for corporate governance.
China was the world's second-largest recipient of foreign direct investment after the United States last year. But in the first seven months of this year, actual FDI inflows, excluding the financial sector, slid 0.35 percent from a year earlier to $71.14 billion, according to the Ministry of Commerce.
"In the January-July period, contracted FDI, which foreshadows investment inflows for the near future, surged 11 percent from the same period last year, suggesting that the prospects are very good, and we are confident in the future. The huge Chinese market is growing into the world's largest one," the assistant minister said.