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Top global enterprises welcomed

By Chen Jia and Li Jiabao in Chengdu  (China Daily)

08:24, June 07, 2013

Fortune magazine's managing editor Andy Serwer addresses the opening ceremony of the 2013 Fortune Global Forum in Chengdu, capital of southwest China's Sichuan province, June 6, 2013. [Photo/Xinhua]

Fortune forum attracts leading executives from around the world

China will maintain stable and healthy economic growth and accelerate opening-up to solve problems that hinder development, Vice-Premier Zhang Gaoli said on Thursday.

"We welcome global leading enterprises investing in China. We will strengthen protection for investors' legal rights and improve services for foreign business," the vice-premier said at the opening ceremony of the Fortune Global Forum in Chengdu, Sichuan province.

Zhang described the country's economic growth as "stable". He pledged to keep the proactive fiscal policy and prudent monetary policy, control inflation and prevent unemployment from rising.

This was the fourth time that China has hosted the Fortune Global Forum. Executives from top companies around the world gathered in Chengdu for the three-day event that started on Thursday to share opinions on new trends in the world's largest developing economy.

China is determined to prevent the fast expansion of high-polluting and high-energy consuming businesses, and to focus more on environmental protection and effective growth, Zhang said.

Alex Gorsky, CEO of Johnson & Johnson, the global pharmaceutical and healthcare products company, said at the forum: "I am a strong believer in China for the long term."

"I believe there are significant opportunities here in China, not only because China drives toward a service or consumer-based economy, but also for China's impact on other economies around the world," Gorsky said.

Forum: China's economic quality improving: expert

The world's second-largest economy will chase opportunities to export more high-quality and well-designed goods and services, he added.

The quality of the Chinese economy is improving, although the speed has slipped, said Huo Jianguo, president of the Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation, a government think tank.

He said the first quarter's 7.7 percent GDP growth rate is "ideal" when the government is focusing more on structural reforms. China's GDP in the last quarter of 2012 increased by 7.9 percent year-on-year.

Warnings are rising from weak investment expectations, increasing credit pressure and a tough outside environment, which will bring more uncertainties in the short term, Huo said.

An effective solution is to strengthen development in the middle and eastern regions, to encourage opening-up and rebalance the regional economy, Huo said.

The first four months of this year saw China's foreign trade rise 14 percent from a year earlier to $1.33 trillion, with exports jumping 17.4 percent and imports increasing 10.6 percent year-on-year, yielding a trade surplus of $6 million, according to the General Administration of Customs.

Amid a slow world economic recovery, China's trade with the European Union edged down 1.3 percent year-on-year in the January-April period, while trade with the United States gained 9.4 percent year-on-year in the same period.

But analysts believe the January-April figure was overstated by speculative money disguised as trade payments chasing a rising yuan.

They predicted that trade growth in China is expected to slow in the following months as the foreign exchange regulator vowed to strengthen its scrutiny of export invoices, and impose tougher penalties on companies giving fake data.

China will continue to oppose trade protectionism and take the opening-up policy as one of the sustainable driving forces of economic development, Zhang said.

Non-financial foreign direct investment in China registered $38.34 billion in the first four months of this year, up 1.21 percent from a year ago, compared with a 3.7 percent decline throughout 2012, according to the Ministry of Commerce.

April saw FDI in China increasing for the third successive month after the reverse in February ended an eight-month slump. The improvement showed the competitiveness of the Chinese economy and the recognition of global investors as the new leadership deepens economic restructuring, according to Shen Danyang, the ministry's spokesman.

Li Dongsheng, chairman of the TCL Group, a consumer electronics company, said China's manufacturing industry is suffering a modest slowdown, but it is unlikely to see a recession this year.

"Overseas markets will give more opportunities for Chinese manufacturing enterprises to solve the current excessive production capacity problem," he said.

"The European Union and some major emerging economies' trade protectionism brought more serious difficulties for Chinese exporters, while the domestic market remains stable so far."

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