Roll Out Free Trade Ports*
April 13, 2018
Economic globalization is a requirement for the development of productive forces and an outcome of scientific and technological progress. It provides strong impetus for world economic growth, and promotes the flow of goods. It encourages commodity and capital flow, scientific, technological and cultural progress, and exchanges between peoples, which correspond with the common interests of all countries. At present, the world economy is still confronted by complex challenges. There is a lack of momentum for growth and a widening gap in growth. We cannot attribute these troublesome problems simply to economic globalization. Any resort to protectionism in trade and investment goes against the historic trend, and will drag us back into the old era of isolation. The only sensible option is to make full use of every opportunity to deal with all challenges through cooperation.
I have made it clear in the report to the 19th CPC National Congress in 2017 that China will not close its door to the world; we will only open it wider. This is a solemn commitment. China adheres to the basic national policy of opening up and pursues a mutually beneficial strategy of opening up. We abide by and maintain the world trade system and rules to make economic globalization more open, inclusive, and balanced, so that it works to the benefit of all. We will make the process of economic globalization more vigorous, more inclusive and more sustainable to ensure that different countries, people from different social strata, and different groups of people may all share the benefits.
Here I solemnly announce that the CPC Central Committee has consented to the building of a pilot free trade zone across Hainan Island, and providing support for Hainan to explore and phase in free trade port policies and the necessary institutional framework. This is a major policy made by the CPC Central Committee after in-depth research, full consideration, and rational planning, while taking into account the needs of both domestic and international economic growth. It is also an important measure to demonstrate our commitment to opening wider to the world and promoting economic globalization.
In building this zone, we should focus on institutional innovation, giving Hainan more autonomy to reform, and encouraging it to be bold in experiments and make breakthroughs in reform to build a business-friendly environment that is governed by law and up to international standards, along with a fair, open, integrated and efficient market. We need to make greater efforts to transform government functions, further streamline administration, and delegate powers, striking the right balance and optimizing services to improve our governance capacity in all sectors. We should adopt well-conceived policies to facilitate free trade and investment, and establish a management system of pre-establishment national treatment and a negative list for foreign companies. We will open the sectors of modern agriculture, new and high-tech industries, and modern services wider to the world, accelerate the development of trade in services, protect the legitimate rights and interests of foreign investors, and gradually open up the shipping industry. The focus will be put on sectors such as seeds, medicine, education, sports, telecommunications, the internet, culture, maintenance, finance, and shipping.
A free trade port represents the highest-level of opening up. The Hainan Free Trade Port should display distinctive Chinese features, conform to conditions in China, and be in accord with Hainan's economic orientation. It should learn from its international peers and draw on their advanced operation models and managerial experience. We will invite investors worldwide to invest in Hainan, participate in building the free trade port, and share China's development opportunities and reform outcomes.
* Part of the speech at a gathering celebrating the 30th anniversary of the founding of the Hainan Province and the Hainan Special Economic Zone.
(Not to be republished for any commercial or other purposes.)