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Reform and opening-up to boost global economic growth, say experts

Zhong Nan
Updated: Dec 27,2018 8:58 AM     China Daily

China’s reform and opening-up will not only benefit the country and its people, but help contribute new growth momentum and facilitate changes to the global economy in many aspects, said officials and business leaders from home and abroad.

The nation’s new measures to support multilateralism and deep involvement in partner countries will help facilitate both goods and service trade activities, as well as infrastructure development and enable stronger connections, said Han Yong, commercial counselor at the department of outward investment and economic cooperation of the Ministry of Commerce.

China Railway Rolling Stock Corp, the country’s manufacturer of locomotives and rolling stock, plans to deploy more resources on operations including localized manufacturing, procurement, employment, services and management to drive growth in global markets, in particular those involved in the development of the Belt and Road Initiative.

These moves will help the group to better integrate with local economy and coordinate its global resources after the company built a number of manufacturing bases in Australia, South Africa, Malaysia, India, Turkey and other countries over the past five years, said Lou Qiliang, vice-president of Beijing-headquartered CRRC.

The group’s overseas assets jumped from 3 billion yuan ($432 million) in 2013 to 34 billion yuan in 2017. It currently employs 57,000 people across its overseas operations, compared with 509 in 2013.

China, now the second largest economy in the world, has helped power the world economy not only with the BRI, but with foreign aid into countries in need. Many developing countries are benefiting from Chinese loans and grants, both bilateral and multilateral, said Ali Ahmed, CEO of Bangladesh Foreign Trade Institute.

“The rise of China has, therefore, been a boon not only to China herself but also to the rest of the world, especially to the relatively poorer countries.”

He said the Chinese way of development, with no doubt, deserves admiration.

China’s contribution to global development has been unique, said Ahmed, who served in the Bangladeshi government for decades before joining the BFTI in 2015.

Paradoxically, many of the present-day leaders in the western world, once champions of free trade and globalization, are now working against it, he said.

“They have been advocating free trade and globalization so long as their goods and services could enter duty-free (zones) without much of competition from poorer economies,” the expert said. “But when they started facing competition from their erstwhile importers of finished goods and services … they are raising all kinds of barriers against them.”

Amid allegations that China only exports but does not import, China International Import Expo held in Shanghai this year is “a fitting reply,” Ahmed said. “It … witnessed a clear Chinese invitation to the others to export to their country. It has been a marvelous economic diplomacy on the part of China.”

The benefits China’s reform and opening-up has brought to South Asia, especially to Bangladesh, have been and are to be immense, he said.

A pointer to that is the opening-up of Chinese market for duty-free and quota-free entry of Bangladeshi goods, Ahmed added. Bangladesh, the largest least developed country (LDC) in terms of the size of its population and economy, enjoys such market access under a decision of the World Trade Organization.

“They will be on a reciprocal basis,” Ahmed said. “At the moment, and for some more years to come, the Chinese policy of opening up her market to the LDCs will continue to be of great help to them. Bangladesh, as an LDC, will reap same benefits.”

China and Bangladesh have already opened discussions to arrive at a free-trade agreement, under which Bangladesh would continue to export its duty- and quota-free goods to China, according to information from the Ministry of Commerce.

“China’s proposal to explore third-party market cooperation could bring benefits to both western nations and developing countries in many parts of the world, without causing a clash of interests,” said Chu Shijia, director-general at the ministry’s comprehensive department.