China Will Open Even Wider*
April 10, 2018
Held last October, the 19th CPC National Congress ushered socialism with Chinese characteristics into a new era and drew a blueprint for turning China into a great modern socialist country in all respects. This new era of Chinese socialism marks a new chapter in China's efforts to achieve national rejuvenation and share prosperity with the rest of the world.
All ages and generations have their own challenges and missions. China has come a long way, but it has to overcome new challenges on its way ahead. In this new era, the Chinese nation will continue to progress through reform. We will stay committed to advancing reform in all respects, and prevail over whatever challenges may lie ahead. We will tackle longstanding problems with courage and resolve, and break the impediments of vested interests to carry reform through. The Chinese people will continue to take bold steps in breaking new ground to boost development. Following the people-centered development philosophy and the new development vision, we will modernize our economic system, deepen supply-side structural reform, and accelerate implementation of the strategies of innovation-driven development, rural revitalization, and coordinated regional development. We will continue to work on targeted poverty alleviation and promote social equity and justice, so that our people will have a greater sense of fulfillment, happiness, and security. The Chinese people will continue to open up further and expand cooperation. We will stay committed to the strategy of opening up for win-win results. We will pay equal attention to "bringing in" and "going global", and break new ground in opening China further through links running eastward and westward, across land and over sea. We will adopt policies to effectively liberate and facilitate trade and investment, and explore the opening of free trade ports adapted to Chinese conditions. The Chinese people will continue to work together with the rest of the world and make a greater contribution to humanity. China will stick to the path of peaceful development, actively pursue global partnerships, firmly support multilateralism, and take an active part in reforming the global governance system. By doing so, we will promote a new type of international relations and a global community of shared future.
No matter how much progress China has made, it will not threaten anyone, attempt to overturn the existing international system, or seek spheres of influence. China will stay as determined as ever to build world peace, contribute to global prosperity, and uphold the international order.
A comprehensive study of world development trajectories shows that economic globalization is an irreversible trend of our times. In line with this conclusion, I emphasized in my report to the 19th CPC National Congress that China will maintain its fundamental state policy of opening up and pursue development with its door wide open. I wish to make it clear to all that China's door will not be closed and will only open even wider.
Past events prove that opening up has been key to China's economic growth over the past 40 years and in the same vein, China can only achieve high-quality economic development in the future with greater openness. Opening up is a strategic decision made by China based on its need for development as well as a concrete action taken by China to move economic globalization forward in a way that benefits people across the world.
China will adopt the following major measures to pursue further opening up:
First, we will significantly broaden market access. A number of landmark measures are to be launched this year. On services, and on financial services in particular, an important announcement was made at the end of last year on measures to raise foreign equity caps in the banking, securities and insurance industries. We will ensure that these measures materialize and at the same time make more moves towards further opening, including accelerating the opening up of the insurance industry, easing restrictions on the establishment of foreign financial institutions in China and expanding their business scope, and opening up more areas of cooperation between Chinese and foreign financial markets. On manufacturing, we have largely opened up this sector, except for a very small number of industries, such as automobiles, ships and aircraft. Now these industries are also in a position to open up. Going forward, we will ease foreign equity restrictions in these industries as soon as possible, automobiles in particular.
Second, we will create a more attractive investment environment. The investment environment is like air, and only fresh air attracts more foreign capital. China used to rely mainly on providing favorable policies for foreign investors, but now we will have to rely more on improving the investment environment. We will enhance alignment with international economic and trade rules, increase transparency, strengthen property rights protection, uphold law-based governance, encourage competition, and oppose monopoly. We established a host of new agencies this past March, such as the State Administration for Market Regulation, as part of a major readjustment of government institutions. The purpose is to remove the systemic and institutional obstacles that prevent the market from playing the decisive role in resource allocation and enable the government to better play its role. In the first six months of this year, we will finish the revision of the negative list on foreign investment and implement across the board a management system based on pre-establishment national treatment and a negative list.
Third, we will strengthen protection of intellectual property rights (IPR). This is the centerpiece of the system for improving property rights protection, and it will provide the biggest boost to the competitiveness of the Chinese economy. Stronger IPR protection is requested by foreign enterprises, and even more so by Chinese enterprises. This year, we are re-instituting the National Intellectual Property Administration to strengthen the ranks of its officials, step up law enforcement, significantly raise the cost for offenders, and fully unlock the deterrent effect of relevant laws. We encourage legitimate technological exchanges and cooperation between Chinese and foreign enterprises, and protect the lawful IPR of foreign enterprises in China. At the same time, we hope foreign governments will also improve protection of Chinese IPR.
Fourth, we will take the initiative to expand imports. Domestic demand is the fundamental driving force for China's economic development, and it is an essential requirement for us to meet the people's growing expectation for a better life. China does not seek a trade surplus; we have a genuine desire to increase imports and achieve a better balance of international payments under the current account. This year, we will significantly lower the import tariffs for automobiles and some other products. We will import more products that are competitive and needed by our people. We will seek faster progress towards joining the WTO Government Procurement Agreement. We hope developed countries will stop imposing restrictions on normal and reasonable trade in high-tech products and relax export controls on such trade with China. This November, we will hold the First China International Import Expo in Shanghai. It is not just another expo in an ordinary sense, but a major policy initiative and commitment, taken of our own accord, to open up the Chinese market. Friends from around the world are welcome to participate.
I wish to emphasize that with regard to all those major opening-up initiatives I have just announced, we have every intention to translate them into reality, sooner rather than later. We want the outcomes of our opening-up efforts to deliver benefits as soon as possible to all enterprises and people in China and around the world. I am confident that with these efforts, China's financial sector will be much more competitive, our capital market will continue to enjoy healthy development, the building of a system of modern industries will accelerate, our market environment will greatly improve, and intellectual property rights will be effectively protected. In short, China will enter a new phase of opening up.
Five years ago, I put forward the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). Since then, more than 80 countries and international organizations have signed cooperation agreements with China. The BRI may be China's idea, but its opportunities and outcomes are going to benefit the world. China has no geopolitical motives, seeks no exclusionary blocs, and imposes no business deals on others. It must be pointed out that as the BRI is a new initiative, it is perfectly natural to have different views. As long as the parties involved embrace the principle of extensive consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits, we can surely enhance cooperation and resolve differences. This way, we can make the BRI the broadest platform for international cooperation in keeping with the trend of economic globalization and to the greater benefit of all peoples.
* Part of the keynote speech at the opening ceremony of the Boao Forum for Asia Annual Conference 2018.
(Not to be republished for any commercial or other purposes.)