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Opening-up at core of policy moves

By Han Baoyi in London and Li Xiang in Beijing | China Daily | Updated: 2019-12-18 09:17
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Customers shop at a brick and mortar store of a cross-border e-commerce firm in Yiwu, East China's Zhejiang province. [Photo/Xinhua]

Policymakers' emphasis on high-quality and innovation-driven development at the recently held Central Economic Work Conference underscores the country's commitment to continued structural reforms and further opening-up to drive growth, experts said on Tuesday.

"The conference reiterated the country's plan for structural reforms and continuous opening up of its economy. These plans have coincided with the application of governance models for responsive and responsible political and economic leadership which insists on the need to promote sustainable socio-economic development," said Christopher Bovis, professor of international business law at the University of Hull.

China's top policymakers gathered at the annual Central Economic Work Conference held from Dec 10 to 12 in Beijing. The meeting stressed the importance of stabilizing the country's economic growth and maintaining the proactive fiscal policy and prudent monetary policy to ensure high-quality growth.

The meeting also acknowledged that China is at a pivotal stage of transforming its growth model, improving its economic structure, and fostering new drivers of growth. It called for sustained vigorous efforts in deepening supply-side structural reform, and ensuring reasonable growth and steady improvement of the economy.

Bovis noted that China will continue to embrace its reform agenda to put the economy on a more sustainable growth path and to restructure the role of the government and the function of market with the emphasis of make financing more accessible to and affordable for the private sector and small businesses.

"By strengthening its small-and medium-sized enterprises, China will further open its economy by enhancing the regime of intellectual property protection of foreign companies and by lowering tariff on strategic sectors such as the auto manufacturing industry," he said.

"Economic reforms enacted in China have prioritized opening up China's economy to foreign investors in order to boost innovation and competitiveness by attracting more advanced industries and services," he said.

Alan Barrell, director of studies at Cambridge Innovation Academy, said it is encouraging to see that China remains steadfastly committed to innovation as plans for continued opening-up are consolidated at the heart of future policies.

"We can clearly see that the Chinese government's drive for innovation is backed up by real actions and investments. And China's interest and willingness to… export its innovation and import innovation too is all good news for the world," he said.

David Glattstein, a former innovation adviser in Silicon Valley and current chief representative in Israel for Zhongguancun Development Group, said that it is refreshing to see China is grounding its economy in science, entrepreneurship, innovation and openness while the global economy is facing volatility and challenges.

"China's government, as always, promotes sustainable development, but more and more it realizes that this sustainability can only be reached by creating new innovation that both grows new markets and addresses changes to the external environment," he said.

Wilson Lee Flores, an analyst and columnist of the Philippine Star and Pilipino Star Ngayon, said that China's economic policies have been pragmatic, stable and balanced in priorities while responsibly upholding globalization principles.

"This sustainable growth path is based on domestic consumption, services, private enterprises, green energy and increased technological innovations, instead of past reliance on export trade, fixed investments, energy-intensive and high-polluting industries," he said.

Lia Zhu in San Francisco and George Ng in Hong Kong contributed to this story.

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