Ladies and Gentlemen,
The last four decades of reform and opening-up in China has been an epic journey for the Chinese people. With determination and through self-reliance and hard work, we have forged ahead on the road to national development and progress. China has pursued development with its door open and succeeded in transforming a closed and semi-closed economy into a fully open economy. Openness has become a trademark of China. China has grown by embracing the world, and the world has also benefited from China’s opening-up.
As I explained at the Boao Forum for Asia in April, China’s economic growth over the past 40 years has been achieved with a commitment to opening-up. In the same vein, high-quality development of China’s economy in the future can only be guaranteed with greater openness. I have made it clear once and again that China’s door will never be closed. It will only open still wider. China will not stop its effort to pursue higher-quality opening-up! China will not stop its effort to pursue an open world economy! And China will not stop its effort to pursue a community with a shared future for mankind!
China will unswervingly follow a win-win strategy of opening-up, adopt high-quality policies to advance trade and investment liberalization and facilitation, and move toward nationwide opening-up that coordinates the coastal and inland areas and connects the eastern and western regions. China will remain a strong advocate of openness at the global level, and will continue to act as a stable engine of global growth, a big market with enormous opportunities and an active supporter of global governance reform.
To broaden its opening-up, China will step up efforts in the following aspects:
First, we will stimulate the potential for increased imports. China’s initiative to expand imports is not a choice of expediency. It is a future-oriented step taken to embrace the world and promote common development. To meet the trend of consumption upgrading, we will take more proactive measures to increase people’s income and spending power, foster new growth areas of medium-high-end consumption, continue to unleash the potential of the domestic market and expand the scope for imports. We will take further steps to lower tariffs, facilitate customs clearance, reduce institutional costs in import, and step up cross-border e-commerce and other new forms and models of business. China has a big market of over 1.3 billion people, and it is our sincere commitment to open the Chinese market. The CIIE, an event to be held on an annual basis, will feature good performance, good results and continued success in the years to come.
Second, we will continue to broaden market access. The market access measures I announced in April have been basically put in place. China has shortened the negative list on foreign investment to reduce investment restrictions and promote investment liberalization. We are steadily increasing the openness of the financial sector, continuing to open up the service sector, and working toward greater openness in the agricultural, mining and manufacturing sectors. We are accelerating opening in such areas as telecommunications, education, medical service and culture. In particular, the foreign equity caps are going to be raised in the education and medical service sectors, where there is both huge interest among foreign investors and shortage in domestic supply. In the coming 15 years, China’s import of goods and services are expected to exceed US$30 trillion and US$10 trillion respectively.
Third, we will foster a world-class business environment. China will introduce the law on foreign investment at a faster pace, and institute an open and transparent system of foreign-related laws. We will implement, across the board, the management system based on pre-establishment national treatment and negative list. We respect international business rules and practice, and provide equal treatment to all types of businesses registered in China. We protect the lawful rights and interests of foreign companies, and are resolute in meting out, in a law-binding manner, punishment for violations of the lawful rights and interests of foreign investors, particularly IPR infringements. We will enhance the credibility and efficiency of IP examination, and put in place a punitive compensation system to significantly raise the cost for offenders. Improvement of the business environment is an on-going process, and there is always room for things to become better. Countries need to improve their business environment by addressing their problems. They should not just point fingers at others to gloss over their own problems. They should not hold a “flashlight” in hand doing nothing but to check out on the weakness of others and not on their own.
Fourth, we will explore new horizons of opening-up. China will support its pilot free trade zones (FTZ) to deepen reform and innovation, make continued explorations based on their differentiated conditions and step up stress tests, so as to give full play to their role as a pilot ground for reform and opening-up. China will be quick to put forward policies and institutions for building a free trade port in Hainan in a step-by-step and phased manner, so as to speed up exploration of the development of free trade ports with distinct Chinese features. This is a significant move by China to open wider to the world. It will set a new model and open up new prospects for reform and opening-up at a higher level.
Fifth, we will promote international cooperation at multilateral and bilateral levels. China believes that rules of the WTO should be upheld firmly, its necessary reforms should be supported and the multilateral trading system should be defended. China will strive for the early conclusion of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), and speed up negotiations on a China-EU investment agreement and a China-Japan-ROK free trade area. China will earnestly implement the eight major initiatives announced at this year’s Beijing Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC). China supports mechanisms such as the G20, APEC, the SCO (Shanghai Cooperation Organization) and BRICS in playing greater roles in building a fairer and more equitable global economic governance system. China will continue to advance the Belt and Road Initiative through international cooperation in the spirit of consultation and collaboration for shared benefits. We will work with the participating countries on major projects, set up more trade promotion platforms and encourage more well-established and capable Chinese companies to invest in countries along the routes to enhance cooperation in areas of ecology, science and technology, culture and people’s livelihood. By so doing, we hope to set up for the whole world a platform for open cooperation.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
The Chinese economy is now on the whole stable and making good progress. For the first three quarters of this year, China’s GDP grew by 6.7%, including a 6.5% growth registered for the third quarter, meeting our targeted goal for growth. Grain output for the whole year is projected to surpass 1.2 trillion jin (or 600 million tons). Some 11.07 million new jobs have been created in towns and cities, hitting our annual goal ahead of schedule. Judged by the main economic indexes, from GDP growth, job creation, consumer prices and international balance of payment to companies’ profit margins, government fiscal revenue and productivity, China’s economy is truly performing well within the reasonable range. This has given us a solid foundation for delivering the development goals for the whole year. And, compared with other major economies, China still ranks among the world’s top in terms of GDP growth.
So, when you talk about the future of the Chinese economy, you have every reason to be confident. The fundamentals for sound and stable growth of the Chinese economy remain unchanged. The necessary production factors for high-quality development remain unchanged. And the overall momentum of long-term stability and progress remains unchanged. China’s capacity for macro-economic regulation is growing, as efforts to deepen reform across the board have unleashed new drivers of growth. With the Belt and Road Initiative being further implemented, two-way investment and trade between China and the BRI partner countries have continued to gather pace. All in all, the favorable conditions are in place for the long-term, healthy and steady growth of the Chinese economy.
Of course, everything has two sides. The economic situation at home and abroad has created some significant challenges for the Chinese economy, such as more uncertainty in some sectors, more difficulties for some enterprises and growing risks in certain sectors. These challenges, generally speaking, are natural in the course of development. And we are taking active steps to solve them. Our efforts are already paying off.
China is the world’s second largest economy. We have a market of more than 1.3 billion consumers who live on the land of over 9.6 million square kilometers. To use a metaphor, the Chinese economy is not a pond, but an ocean. The ocean may have its calm days, but big winds and storms are only to be expected. Without them, the ocean wouldn’t be what it is. Big winds and storms may upset a pond, but never an ocean. Having experienced numerous winds and storms, the ocean will still be there! It is the same for China. After going through 5,000 years of trials and tribulations, China is still here! Looking ahead, China will always be here to stay!
I am convinced that as long as we have strategic confidence, deepen reform and opening-up across the board, intensify supply-side structural reforms and make greater efforts to solve outstanding problems, then the Chinese economy will surely make a quicker transition to high-quality development, the Chinese people will surely overcome all challenges coming our way, and China will surely embrace a brighter future of development.