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In a report delivered at the opening of the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China in Beijing on Nov 8, CPC General Secretary Hu Jintao said one of the five key factors that can strengthen socialist market economy and transform the economic development model is the comprehensively improvement of an open economy.
Given the emphasis on increasing domestic demand in recent years, the report's wording - "comprehensively improve the level of an open economy" - underlines the importance of external demand in promoting China's economic and social development. Compared with the previous message to "expand the scope of opening-up", the new report conveys the risks associated with an export-oriented economy. It also makes it clear that the goal is to enhance China's position in the global economy and increase its revenue from foreign trade.
In times of globalization, a rising power that doesn't pay enough attention to the development of an open economy might be digging its own grave. This is particularly true for China, a rising economic power which has been highly dependent on foreign trade for many years. The importance of foreign trade lies in the direct use of external resources to maintain employment and GDP growth, even though the global recession caused the decline of trade surplus and turned the direct contribution of foreign trade to China's GDP growth negative.