Premier Li Keqiang visits the China (Shanghai) Pilot Free Trade Zone on Sept 18, 2014.[Photo/Xinhua]
At State Council executive meetings the “opening-up’’ strategy is one of the priorities amid efforts to create an open-market economy, and also boost a new round of reform. A total of 13 issues discussed during the meetings are directly related to opening-up.
The strategy will enable an increasing number of international competitors to get involved in the domestic market and compete with Chinese enterprises, Premier Li Keqiang said at a State Council executive meeting in September, 2014. This, in turn, will force domestic enterprises to learn more advanced management modes and provide better services, giving customers more choices, he said.
Open to develop
The executive meetings provide a window to view the direction of the ongoing reform: open to develop.
“Some people used to regard closed-door development as a way to protect our industry, but in fact closed-door development only leads us to fall behind. The essence of the ‘going global’ strategy is to immerge domestic enterprises in an open environment to improve their innovation ability and competitiveness,’’ the Premier said at a State Council executive meeting on Sept 29, 2014.
Opening-up is a tool to support a stable increase of foreign trade and optimize its structure.
On a State Council executive meeting on April 30, 2014 the Premier urged implementation of efficient and simple customs-clearance policies which will provide companies and enterprises with a more convenient environment for foreign trade.
Opening-up is a way to upgrade the economic mode as the economy integrates ever more deeply with the world economy.
“E-commerce is not a simply Chinese people buying foreign commodities. In a deeper sense, it’s about enterprises’ imports and exports and the practice of the “Internet plus foreign trade” which will drive the development of physical stores and factories and also effectively increase employment,” the Premier noted at a State Council executive meeting on July 10.
A more open market
“We should boost domestic demand by opening up which in turn will drive a new round of reform,’’ he noted.
A clear signal came from an overall plan passed at an executive meeting to establish the China (Shanghai) Pilot Free Trade Zone in 2013 which, only a year later, was reinforced by the establishment of three new free trade zones in Guangdong, Tianjin, and Fujian.
This is not a simple mathematic addition. The trial programs of free trade zones mean the transformation of government functions and nationwide promotion to further opening-up.
The government set up three lists to enable this: The “power list’’ which shows what the government should do in accordance with the law; the “negative list’’ which details what enterprises can’t do in accordance with the law and a “responsibility list’’ which looks at how the government can manage the market in accordance with the law, the Premier said in his opening remarks during the summer Davos, in Tianjin, in 2014.
These three lists define government’s role in the market and provide more room for enterprises.
For example, the special management measures in the “negative list” of the free trade zones was reduced from 190 to 122 items over two years, which means foreign enterprises will have a more open market in China.
Premier Li Keqiang talks with foreign representatives at the China Development Forum 2015 on March 23. [Photo/Xinhua]
Open to upgrade
The government is pushing forward a new round of high-level opening-up. It will continue to ease market access, further open the service industry, and strengthen intellectual property protection to create a stable, transparent, effective, and fair environment for foreign enterprises, the Premier noted at the China Development Forum 2015.
Opening-up has a strategic significance as the Premier stressed many times at State Council executive meetings. He believes that opening-up will in turn force the domestic enterprises to upgrade which will result in higher competitiveness in the international market.
Both international and domestic markets are important to China’s future as the economy upgrades.