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New 'open agenda' points way to future progress

By Fu Jing | China Daily | Updated: 2019-03-16 08:32
Fu Jing. [Photo provided to China Daily]

My first suggestion during a discussion with several foreign friends who are keen to identify China's new policy directions was to read the Government Work Report, which was delivered by Premier Li Keqiang on March 5.

Among them was a European writer with his new book, and I shared my observation that the debates at the two sessions have gone beyond China's anticipated Foreign Investment Law.

The Government Work Report, I said, is an "open agenda" for the 1.4 billion Chinese, and in many ways has global implications.

He had not read the report, but was impressed that the Chinese government was determined to cut red tape and bureaucracy.

I had lived in Europe for a long time and knew that government efficiency needs improving in some countries. I joked that we face the same challenge, and he told me that the European Union's challenges are tremendous.

The biggest is not fighting terrorism, protectionism, isolationism and the rise of the right-wing and extremists. It is that the union, especially among the drivers of the bloc, is at stake and it is not easy to reach a consensus.

My friend was downbeat during part of our dialogue. He said pessimism is widespread and the agenda of the EU is "defensive".

But I told him that the European Union has a huge chance to roll out its version of an "open agenda" by working with China, to engage with less-developed countries in central and east Europe and Asia, and help reach the common prosperity of the Eurasian continent.

This year will see a shift in the European Union and I hope the new leaders could envision globalization and an open economy.

In my view, China's Belt and Road Initiative aims to channel the global flow of capital, technology and talent, at least in Asia, Europe and Africa.

In addition, construction of the Xiongan New Area, China's new high-tech and ecology-friendly economic powerhouse neighboring Beijing, and turning the province of Hainan into a free trade port similar in many ways to Hong Kong and Singapore, are two other domestic projects that deserve attention.

My friend hadn't heard much about the projects, so I jotted them down in his notebook and encouraged him to visit while they are still at an early stage of development.

We shared the view that China and the EU, at a historically critical moment, should develop their relations mainly through a multilateral approach. Most importantly, inspiring narratives and actions must be reached in shouldering common international responsibility.

My friend said that the visits would be another two adventures during his stay in China.

He said such a visionary, optimistic, forward-looking spirit is much needed in many parts of the world.

When presenting a copy of his book to me, he wrote on in the inside page: "Looking forward to building new bridges with you."

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