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Pace of opening-up will not slow

By Cheng Yawen | China Daily | Updated: 2017-11-03 07:30

Pace of opening-up will not slow

China will firmly stick to the basic national policy of opening-up and pursue win-win cooperation with other countries, President Xi Jinping said on Monday while meeting with foreign and Chinese entrepreneurs and academics. That Xi made the remarks at the first meeting with visiting dignitaries after his re-election as the general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee last week will make the world more confident about doing business with China.

The fact that China will continue to open up to the outside world was highlighted at the 19th National Congress of the CPC that concluded on Oct 24, while Xi and other central leaders have also reiterated it on earlier occasions. This shows opening-up will play a vital role in China's efforts to meet its goal of modernization and national rejuvenation.

After introducing members of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau elected at the First Plenum of the 19th CPC Central Committee on Oct 25, Xi said he was convinced that reform and opening-up will "complement and reinforce each other" and be carried through to realize the Chinese Dream of national rejuvenation.

In his report to the 19th Party Congress, Xi also highlighted the change in Chinese society's "principal contradiction", which has evolved to be that between unbalanced and inadequate development and people's ever-growing needs for a better life. To gradually resolve this contradiction, opening-up will play an irreplaceable role, just as it has done in China's miraculous economic growth over the past almost four decades.

An agriculture-based country before the launch of reform and opening-up in 1978, China today is the world's second-largest economy with mature, modern infrastructure, industries and commercial enterprises, and has lifted more than 800 million people out of poverty. Of course, in the early years of reform and opening-up, foreign enterprises contributed their share to China's growth through funds, technologies and management experience.

China has also shown great sincerity in pushing forward opening-up and seeking outwardlooking development. The Fifth Plenum of the 18th CPC Central Committee two years ago specifically endorsed development ideas such as innovation, coordination, green growth and openness. That the foreign entrepreneurs Xi met on Monday included Apple Inc CEO Tim Cook and Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg is proof that China will "participate in and promote economic globalization, (and) develop an open economy of higher standards".

Accordingly, changes are called for in the old strategy of relying heavily on the exports of low-value-added products and inbound investment. When it comes to market entry, national treatment and the negative list, China is right to look to international standards. In fact, in this way China can open up wider, so can its service sector, and better protect foreign enterprises' legal interest.

The Chinese economy, as Xi said, is undergoing a crucial transition from high-speed growth to high-quality development. So are foreign businesses in China. And it is natural that China will try to level the playing field for domestic and foreign enterprises. But some Western observers wrongly see it as a move to give "Chinese companies an unfair advantage".

The truth is that China, a major beneficiary of and contributor to globalization, has no intention of retreating from opening-up. The country has taken a series of measures to further open up its market, and it will continue to do so.

From China's accession to the World Trade Organization in 2001 to the yuan's inclusion in the International Monetary Fund's special drawing rights basket last year, Beijing has made efforts to help make the world order fairer, and since the past five years it has been helping build a community of shared future for humankind, which speaks volumes of its commitment to inclusive development.

The author is a professor at the School of International Relations and Public Affairs, Shanghai International Studies University, and an academic member of the Pangoal Institution.

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