China unveils new steps for higher-level opening up
Note: The following article is taken from the Chinese-language "Commentaries on International Affairs".
President Xi Jinping on Friday called on participating countries of the Belt and Road Initiative to advance along the path of high-quality development. Addressing the opening ceremony of the second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation in Beijing, the president also pledged five measures to further open up China’s market. This is the latest signal China has sent to the world: As it becomes more open, China will not only promote the high-quality development of Belt and Road countries, but will also create new opportunities for global growth and help improve global economic governance.
President Xi Jinping and world leaders enter the conference room for the opening ceremony of the second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation on Friday, April 26, 2019. [Photo: Xinhua]
When talking about expanding market access, Xi Jinping said China will further downsize the negative list and allow foreign investors to operate businesses in more sectors with a controlling or full stake so as to open up its service, manufacturing and agricultural industries. This follows similar measures taken last year to reduce restrictions on foreign investment in such fields as finance, auto, shipping, railway, mining and power grids. It serves the purpose of the country’s newly adopted foreign investment law, creating a fairer business environment for all foreign investors.
The president also promised that China will create a business environment in which the value of knowledge is respected. He said the country will step up measures protecting the legitimate rights and interests of foreign owners of intellectual property rights; prohibit forced transfer of technology; and crack down on infringements of intellectual property rights in accordance with the law. These measures are not only in line with the country’s strategy aimed at boosting innovation, but are also helpful for all countries to achieve innovation-driven development.
President Xi Jinping delivers a keynote speech at the opening ceremony of the Second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation in Beijing on Friday, April 26, 2019. [Photo: Xinhua]
The president also pledged to increase imports of goods and services on a larger scale. The country will further lower its tariffs and eliminate non-tariff barriers, and import more competitive farm products, finished products and services. This comes after the country held its first import expo last November. It will better meet its people’s needs for consumption upgrade, promote balanced trade between China and other countries, and open up bigger markets for all countries.
On macro-economic policy coordination, Xi Jinping promised that China will not engage in beggar-thy-neighbor currency devaluation and will continue to improve the exchange rate formation mechanism of its currency, and keep the exchange rate generally stable on a reasonable and balanced level. He also reaffirmed the country’s support for and active participation in the reform of the World Trade Organization. These are indeed the prerequisites for China to achieve higher-level opening up, as the adoption of international practices will better link the Chinese market with that of the rest of the world. It will also benefit Belt and Road construction in adopting more internationally accepted rules and practices.
Last but not least, the Chinese president stressed the implementation of China’s opening up policies. Xi noted China places great importance on the implementation of the bilateral and multilateral economic and trade agreements it has signed with other parties. The country will revise and refine its laws and regulations in line with the needs of its opening-up drive. This demonstrates China’s determination and capability to take action.
As the largest public service product China provides to the world, the Belt and Road Initiative is advancing from a sketch with broad strokes to a picture with refined details. China’s efforts to push for higher-level opening up will inject strong momentum into the high-quality development of the Belt and Road Initiative and gear up the process of economic globalization. The opportunities China is creating shall not be missed by any country that intends to achieve high-quality growth.