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Opening-up remains right path for progress: China Daily editorial

China Daily | Updated: 2019-01-15 21:25
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In their latest round of talks early this month, China and the United States agreed to further negotiations to work out a deal that will hopefully help put an end to the current trade standoff.

Such a deal would clearly be in the interests of both China and the US as well as global trade and the world economy.

For China, its trade dispute with the US is no doubt a major challenge and one of the harshest it has encountered in recent history. The world's most powerful economy has used its all-around influence to pressure China to toe the line, forcing China to fight back to safeguard its legitimate interests.

China will not be coerced, but history shows that if it handles the challenge properly, it can turn the current situation to its advantage by using it as a means to advance its deep-water economic reforms and opening-up agenda, which will further enhance its national competitiveness.

Over the past 40 years, while carrying out domestic reform, China has also continually opened up its economy to the outside world, a move that has improved its own economic vitality and, at the same time, benefited other economies. Now China and the world economy are deeply interconnected.

But that has not been a case of a simple snap of the fingers and lo and behold the country has become the world's second-largest economy. Take China's accession to the World Trade Organization in 2001, for instance. It marks a milestone in the country's economic history, but before that decision was made, there were many debates over whether the country should take the initiative to become more deeply integrated in the global economy.

Over the past 17 years, the decision to join the WTO has proved to be the right one, and the country continues to adhere to the path of opening-up. Indeed, it is pressing ahead with the implementation of a "new round of high-level opening-up".

The latest data show, China's imports last year increased by 15.8 percent year-on-year, significantly higher than its growth in exports, which was 9.9 percent. And China showcased its resolve to allow its trade partners to benefit from its vast domestic market while satisfying its own domestic demand for overseas products by hosting its first international import expo in Shanghai in November. It has also recently shortened the negative list for foreign investment.

Such changes well illustrate the country's commitment to further opening-up, while President Xi Jinping's words in December explain the rationale — "openness brings progress, while seclusion leads to backwardness".

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