Work report charts course for year ahead

By Ouyang Shijia and Liu Zhihua (China Daily) 11:15, March 06, 2024

Global executives and experts have lauded China's commitment to expanding high-level opening-up, saying it is poised to create more growth opportunities for stakeholders worldwide.

Anticipating broader access to China's markets for international firms, they expect to see further measures aimed at enhancing the business climate and extending opening-up across diverse sectors, such as services and the high-tech industry.

Their comments came after the Government Work Report, which was delivered on Tuesday, said China will continue to develop new systems for a higher-standard open economy and inject greater energy and vitality into domestic and international economic flows.

Looking ahead to this year, the country pledged efforts to work proactively in alignment with high-standard international economic and trade rules, advance high-standard opening-up in key sectors and steadily expand institutional opening-up, according to the report delivered by Premier Li Qiang at the opening of the second session of the 14th National People's Congress in Beijing.

More efforts will be made to lift all foreign investment restrictions in the manufacturing sector and relax market access restrictions in service industries, such as telecommunications and medical services, the report said.

"The optimized economic environment in China has instilled lasting confidence and (given) strong impetus for numerous foreign-funded enterprises, including Pfizer, which have been long rooted in China," said Jean-Christophe Pointeau, global senior vice-president of Pfizer, a United States-based pharmaceutical company.

"In 2023, China contributed over 30 percent to global economic growth, which also reflects that China's stable and continuously optimized economic environment is promoting steady economic growth."

Wang Qian, country manager of LinkedIn China, said the announcement of the government's work tasks for 2024 meant strengthening guarantees for foreign investment services and building the "Invest in China" brand have become new priorities. Wang said LinkedIn will "continue to increase its investment in China and continue to deeply cultivate the Chinese market".

According to the report, China will continue to develop a first-class business environment that is market-oriented, law-based and internationalized, which will enhance the appeal of "Invest in China". A new group of foreign-funded projects will also be selected as landmark projects at an appropriate time, it said.

Chen Jianwei, a professor at the Academy of China Open Economy Studies at the University of International Business and Economics, said the country is dedicated to opening its doors wider to the outside world. "Those measures will help enhance China's position and influence in the global economy and promote the high-quality development of the Chinese economy."

Citing key measures mapped out by the report such as expanding institutional opening-up, he said it is sending clear signals to global investors that China will further optimize the business environment, strengthen intellectual property protection and promote market-oriented reforms.

Chen highlighted the importance of taking targeted measures to attract more foreign investment, including reducing institutional barriers to market access, streamlining approval procedures, encouraging foreign-invested enterprises' participation in strengthening China's industrial chains, increasing support for technological innovation and attracting foreign-invested enterprises to establish research and development centers in China.

Raymond Zhu, president of CPA Australia's East and Central Committee, stressed the need to promote high-level opening-up from the perspective of fiscal and taxation policies.

He said it is advisable for China to take measures such as expanding a global network of high-standard free trade zones and supporting trade in services and digital trades.

(Web editor: Tian Yi, Liang Jun)


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