BEIJING – As a major engine of the world economy, China is going to open its door wider.
Chinese Vice-Premier Han Zheng, speaking at the ongoing 50th annual meeting of the World Economic Forum, has reiterated that China will not stop pushing for higher-quality opening-up.
In a special address, Han, also a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, said China will continue to take major steps of reform and opening-up to drive economic globalization and make new contributions to sustainable global development.
Han’s remarks are strong reaffirmation of China’s stance on opening-up, which has been one of the major policy moves underpinning China’s stellar growth over past decades and will continue to be an engine for China and the world economy.
Globalization an irreversible trend
In his speech, Han described economic globalization as a trend of history, an essential condition for productivity growth and a natural result of the advance in science and technology, and that the fundamental solution to problems in economic globalization lies in building an inclusive and open world economy together.
China itself has been a long-time beneficiary of this trend since it opened up to the world in the late 1970s, which backed its decades of exponential growth and turned the country into a firm believer in the open economy.
In the meantime, increasing economic exchanges with China provided abundant opportunities for the rest of the world and offered solid support to global economic growth. From 1978 to 2018, China has attracted over $2 trillion of foreign direct investment in non-financial sectors.
Lian Ping, president of China Chief Economist Forum, said China always sees economic globalization as an unstoppable trend and plans its development path accordingly.
China’s phenomenal growth since its reform and opening-up, along with its contribution to the world economy, has well proved what an open economy could achieve, said Lian.
China’s further opening up and integration into the world economy is assuming unprecedented importance today as the world’s largest developing country has entered a new economic rank, with its GDP per capita passing $10,000 in 2019.
The Chinese economy expanded steadily by 6.1 percent last year and is expected to contribute around 30 percent of global growth, according to the National Bureau of Statistics last week.
This compares with the world economy witnessing “tentative signs of stabilization,” a description from the International Monetary Fund, which revised down global growth estimates to 2.9 percent in 2019 in its latest projection, citing trade policy uncertainty as one of the headwinds.
Toward higher quality
Looking ahead, Han said China will further widen market access for foreign investors, import more goods and services, further improve our business environment and foster new drivers of opening-up, as well as further deepen multilateral and bilateral cooperation.
Echoing his pledge, China’s policymakers have confirmed that opening up will continue to develop on a larger scale and at a deeper level at a key economic conference in late 2019.
Following the implementation of the landmark foreign investment law, China also promised that the country will continue to shorten the negative list to ease foreign investment off-limits rules and beef up opening-up efforts in pilot free trade zones in 2020.
Sector-wise, economists here said they expect further opening-up would happen in services that still have huge potentials to tap into.
Sun Xuegong, director of the Institute of Economic Research of the National Development and Reform Commission, said service industries, such as the financial sector as well as other sectors related to high-level consumption demand, are likely to open up gradually in the next stage.
Lian also mentioned service sectors such as education, cultural industry and elderly-care services, since China’s opening-up has previously focused on the industrial sector, especially manufacturing.
Yuan Gangming, a researcher at Tsinghua University, said further increasing imports would be another choice for China to participate in economic globalization.
By encouraging imports through ways like the China International Import Expo, China would purchase more goods and services to improve the trade balance, he said.