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Seize RCEP opportunities, premier says

By XU WEI | CHINA DAILY | Updated: 2020-11-23 07:13
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Premier Li Keqiang, also a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, presides over a symposium on the economic situation via video link attended by local government officials, in Beijing, capital of China, Nov 20, 2020. Vice Premier Han Zheng, also a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee, attended the symposium. [Photo/Xinhua]

Li: Employ pact's rules, measures to promote high-level opening-up

Premier Li Keqiang has highlighted the need to seize the opportunities arising from the signing of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership agreement and explore new room for international cooperation.

In remarks made at a symposium via video link with provincial governors on Friday, Li urged officials to make good use of the rules and facilitation measures in the pact, the world's largest trade deal, and to promote high-level opening-up.

Local authorities must continue with measures to stabilize foreign trade and investment and ensure steady industry and supply chains, he said.

Fifteen Asia-Pacific countries signed the RCEP on Nov 15 after eight years of negotiations, in a regional trading agreement that covers a market of 2.2 billion people and a combined GDP of $26.2 trillion-both figures being about 30 percent of the global totals.

Li presided over an executive meeting of the State Council, China's Cabinet, on Wednesday at which it was decided to expedite domestic reforms and forge ahead with measures to put the trade pact into practice as scheduled.

At the symposium, Li highlighted the importance of adhering to reform and opening-up to further stimulate market vitality and social creativity, saying that China's market players, numbering over 100 million, remained the foundation for the country to secure economic growth and protect jobs.

He reiterated the need to develop a business environment that is in line with market principles, the rule of law and international standards, adding that local authorities must come up with more reform measures to create a better environment that improves the vitality of market players and spawns new startups.

Li said the central government has rolled out effective macro policies to contain the fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic in a timely and decisive manner, and the outcomes have beaten expectations.

However, arduous effort is still needed to enable economic growth to recover to its reasonable range, he said.

The premier underscored the significance of maintaining consistency, efficacy and sustainability of policies and ensuring that policies are well-calibrated.

The priority must be to stabilize the job market and expand domestic demand, he said, adding that the employment-first policy must be reinforced to create more jobs.

More measures must be unleashed to unclog bottlenecks that hinder the rebound of consumer spending and to meet residents' diversified demand, he said.

The government must continue to tighten its belt and fine-tune its policies based on the demand from market players and the dynamic situation in stabilizing market expectations, he said.

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