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Opening-up to gather pace

Zhong Nan/Ren Xiaojin
Updated: Mar 6,2018 8:50 AM     China Daily

China will move faster to further open up on all fronts to gather new strength, including improving the structural layout, institutions and mechanisms in international economic cooperation, according to official statements delivered on March 5.

The nation will continue to place equal emphasis on “bringing in and going global”, and advance international cooperation under the Belt and Road Initiative, according to a report from the National Development and Reform Commission, China’s top economic regulator of national economic and social development, which was made public on March 5.

The report echoes the annual Government Work Report delivered by Premier Li Keqiang on the morning of March 5. Premier Li made clear that China will open wider to foreign investors this year by completely opening its general manufacturing sector and expanding access to a number of other sectors.

Foreign investors will have wider access to sectors such as telecommunications, medical services, education, elderly care and new energy vehicles, Premier Li said when delivering the Government Work Report to the first session of the 13th National People’s Congress.

“We will make market entry standards the same for Chinese and foreign banks,” he said.

Under the official plan, China will expand industrial capacity cooperation with other countries. It will also improve the composition of outbound investment, as well as expand opening-up in the western region, inland areas and border areas, creating new opportunities for China’s economic cooperation with other countries, according to the NDRC report.

To open up the financial sector, China will phase in an opening-up of bank card clearing and other markets, lift restrictions on the scope of operations of foreign-invested insurance agencies, and ease or lift restrictions on the share of foreign-owned equity in companies in sectors including banking and securities, according to the Government Work Report.

Overseas investors will be granted tax deferral for the reinvestment of profits made in China, while procedures for setting up foreign-invested enterprises will be simplified, and business filing and business registration will be processed together.

The government will also spread the use of practices developed in existing free-trade zones all over the country, and explore opening free trade ports, the Premier said.

China has already taken the top place in global trade, and high-quality, high-tech and high-value-added products are taking up an increasing share of the country’s total exports, Zhong Shan, minister of commerce, said on March 5.

“China’s foreign trade from last year has grown 14.2 percent year-on-year, with the highest growth rate in the past six years,” the minister said after the Premier delivered the Government Work Report. “China has become the world’s top trading power.”

Zhong added that last year high-tech products accounted for over 30 percent of total exports.

New elements such as cross-border e-commerce are powering the country’s foreign trade, as China boasts the world’s biggest cross-border e-commerce sector, reaching most countries and regions in the world and has won favor from global customers, Zhong said.

“China is ready to work with all related parties to advance multilateral trade negotiations,” said Huang Maoxing, an NPC deputy and economics professor at Fujian Normal University.

“To more quickly increase the quality and added value of exports, we will encourage the export of technology, equipment manufacturing and Chinese-brand products,” the NDRC report said.

The report also stressed that China will expand the coverage of export credit insurance, shave another third off the total time taken for customs clearance and reform the mechanisms for developing trade in services, as well as foster new forms and models of trade.