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Xi’s Opening-Up Speech

Apr 24 , 2018
  • Xu Hongcai

    Deputy Chief Economist, China Center for Int'l Economic Exchanges

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In his speech at the Bo’ao Forum, President Xi Jinping reviewed the success story of China’s reform and opening up in the past four decades, and explored common challenges faced by the world today. Peace and development remain the themes of the time, and the only way forward should be equal-footed cooperation for win-win outcomes.

President Xi Jinping reaffirmed in his speech that China will roll out more opening up measures such as lowering auto tariffs. Such measures should not be interpreted as a response to China-US trade friction, but part of China’s efforts to make its voice heard globally in the form of an annual gathering. President Xi Jinping laid out further opening up measures, which serves to send a clear message to the world about where China is headed.

China stands for equal footed cooperation for win-win outcomes, so the world community can work together to build a community of shared future. This serves the interests of China, as the country will continue to open further and deepen reforms, guided by the experiences in the past four decades. Looking ahead, China holds great prospects in terms of its economic growth and market opportunities, and looks forward to sharing these benefits with the world, thus contributing to world development and prosperity. China stands for benefits for all. China has always been a positive force for globalization, and a major contributor to world peace and stability, and remains committed to shoring up global confidence in development.

President Xi Jinping laid out further measures for reform and opening up, which sends a positive message to the world, and offers a much welcomed opportunity to address the trade imbalance between China and the US.

The trade imbalance is rooted in the two economies’ different stages of development and their distinct positions in the global industrial chain. For the same reason, the two economies have become inextricably interdependent, and their trade imbalance defies any simplistic solutions such as tariff hike or tit for tat trade retaliation.

When China further opens up, there will be abundant new opportunities for US businesses, especially in the trade of services, including financial services, where the US is already running a surplus. Other industries such as automobiles also offer new opportunities. When the US seizes these opportunities to export more to China, trade can become more balanced.

There are a few other points in President Xi Jinping’s speech that offer great insight into the future landscape of China. He said China will continue to improve its business environment, and encourages foreign businesses to take part in its economic development. In the first half of this year, China will amend its negative list, and fully roll out the pre-establishment national treatment plus negative list system, which is encouraging for foreign businesses. While blaming China for the trade deficit, the US may well reflect on its own policies, where excessive restrictions on hi-tech exports to China cost US companies valuable business opportunities, which only ends up being taken by countries like Germany, France, and the UK. 

China will import more from the world. The 2018 Import Expo will be held in China and it will be an annual event from this year on. Meanwhile, tariffs will be further lowered, and China is seeking to join the WTO Agreement on Government Procurement. As China strives to import more, the US stands to benefit from an improved trade relationship with it.

China places great importance on intellectual property rights (IPR) protection, which is a central task in an innovation-driven economy. It is not only a global aspiration, but something China wants to do on its own accord. China has been making unremitting efforts over the years to improve IPR protection, with the latest effort being the restructuring of the State Intellectual Property Office. Law enforcement will be further strengthened with punitive measures in place for violations. Only when intellectual property is well protected can an innovation driven economy be truly established and prosper, which will draw more foreign businesses to China.

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