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Expert stresses importance of reform and opening up

(People's Daily)    13:39, March 13, 2017
Expert stresses importance of reform and opening up
Aerial view of Lujiazui Financial and Trade Zone in Pudong New District of Shanghai. (Photo source: official website of Lujiazui Financial and Trade Zone)

The “reform and opening up” policy has been repeatedly emphasized by Chinese leaders after it was introduced over 30 years ago. Expert said a new change is that “in the past, China opens wider to outside world by launching more reforms, while in today’s China, it is the opening up process that propels more reforms”.

Chinese President Xi Jinping, when joining a panel discussion with deputies to the annual session of the National People's Congress (NPC) from Shanghai, once again vowed that China will persist in the all-round opening-up policy, and continue to liberalize and facilitate trade and investment, while urging Shanghai, a pioneer in China's reform and opening-up, to act as a bridgehead.

“China will never close its opening door to the outside world,” Xi reiterated.

The President asked Shanghai, home to China's first pilot free trade zone (FTZ), to free minds, seek new horizons, and be an example to the nation.

The city should also better play its role as test bed of China’s opening-up campaign by finding out short boards, launching innovative reforms, and making more breakthroughs, so as to tell the whole world China’s firm resolution for an all-round openness, he added.

Zhang Zhao'an, deputy head of the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences and an NPC deputy, told People’s Daily that the “opening up” and “reform” are two wheels driving the rapid development of Chinese economy in the past three decades.

“But in the past, we open up by launching more reforms, while in today’s China, it is the opening up process that propels more reforms,” he described the new change.

Hailing China’s establishment of Shanghai FTZ as the best evidence, Zhang said that the reform measures resulted from such opening up process has accelerated the optimization pace of government management and resource integration.

He, when sharing the successful experience of Shanghai, stressed the importance of investment liberalization, trade facilitation as well as finance internationalization.

After the pilot FTZ was launched, a negative list approach to foreign investment, for example, was introduced and has been applied by more cities later, he further illustrated.

The pilot zone also innovated to process international trade through a single window, which enables cross-border traders to submit regulatory documents at a single location, the deputy elaborated, praising that it can effectively improve efficiency.

In addition, China’s financial reform was accelerated thanks to Shanghai’s trials to launch Shanghai-Hong Kong Stock Connect, Shenzhen-Hong Kong Stock Connect as well as free trade account, according to Zhang.

“Amid the increasing political uncertainties in global arena, it is more necessary for China to stick to an all-round openness and play an active part in the reshaping process of global governance system,” Zhang said.

In light of the background, he suggested governments and enterprises adjust their policies and strategies timely, citing the export as an example.

If the export is gloomy, according to him, the governments and businesses should improve the trade structure and optimize product portfolio.

China’s export is now under the shadow of complicated global environment. The imports and exports stood at 24.3 trillion yuan ($3.7 trillion) in 2016, down 0.9 percent year on year.

Chinese enterprises must firm their resolution to “go global”, Zhang believed, saying that when a country weighs more in global economy, it will lead the global industrial chain.

“The Chinese government should offer favorable policies and supporting services to encourage its companies’ overseas expansion,” he said, advising the country to improve studies on laws and regulations of countries along the Belt and Road.

The government should establish and improve corresponding legal service platforms and service system to reduce the risks of those Chinese firms, he added.

 

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(Web editor: Hongyu, Bianji)

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