Overseas companies hail expanded opening-up

By XU WEI | China Daily | Updated: 2021-01-06 08:05
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A worker plays soccer with a robot at the China International Fair for Trade in Services in Beijing in September. [Photo by Zhang Wei/China Daily]

Renewed commitments

President Xi presented his vision for the country's reform and opening-up on a number of occasions last year.

In a speech delivered via video link to the Global Trade in Services Summit at the China International Fair for Trade in Services in September, he said Beijing would remain steadfast in opening up wider to the world and would continue to work on a negative list system for managing cross-border services trade.

"We will further ease market access for the services sector and will take greater initiative to increase imports of quality services," he said.

In Shenzhen, Guangdong province,-the country's first special economic zone that celebrated its 40th anniversary in October-Xi said reform and opening-up must be moved forward at a higher level and new advances must be made on all fronts in such zones.

"Reform will not come to a standstill and opening-up will only go further," he said in a speech in the city on Oct 14.

Xi called for efforts to accelerate opening-up with institutional guarantees such as rules and norms. He also called for a more flexible policy system to be explored and for an enhanced scientific management system in terms of domestic and foreign trade, investment and financing, taxation and finance.

Less than one month later, Xi delivered a speech at a gathering to mark the 30th anniversary of the development and opening-up of Pudong New Area in Shanghai. He urged the area to pioneer the nation's higher level of opening-up and efforts to foster a new development paradigm.

The president reiterated the importance of opening-up as a basic national policy and said there should be no wavering from this at any time.

Any thought about seeking growth behind closed doors, any practice that shuns the outside world, or any act seeking hegemony and bullying would go against the trend of history, he said.

Martin Mueller, chairman of the Swiss Chinese Chamber of Commerce, said he welcomed Xi's policy statement about China's opening-up.

"We appreciate China's commitment to multilateralism and its continued opening-up to more foreign trade and investment. China is now a very big factory for the whole world, and if it maintains this direction, the whole world will benefit," he said.

He added that the chamber welcomes every step taken toward opening-up and leveling the playing field for foreign businesses in China.

"There were important improvements over the past year and we hope this can continue in coming years," he said.

Martin Lockett, dean of Nottingham University Business School China, said, "Both Shenzhen and Pudong exemplify the policy of 'dual circulation'-of simultaneous engagement with the domestic economy and with the world."

In May, China proposed a new development pattern, with domestic circulation as the mainstay and domestic and international circulation reinforcing each other.

Lockett said, "The challenges are how to reproduce the strengths of Shenzhen and Shanghai in other parts of China, and how these two cities can reach world-class levels of innovation comparable with leading regions in countries like the United States and Germany."

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