EU lobby says China should open mar­ket to meet eco­nomic goals

The Pak Banker - - MARKETS/SPORTS -

China should open its mar­kets to for­eign busi­ness and im­ple­ment over­due re­forms if it wants to achieve its eco­nomic goals, a Euro­pean busi­ness lobby said on Fri­day, weigh­ing in on Bei­jing's new five-year plan. Chi­nese Premier Li Ke­qiang has said the coun­try faces a tough bat­tle to keep its econ­omy grow­ing by at least 6.5 per­cent a year over the next five years while cre­at­ing more jobs and re­struc­tur­ing in­ef­fi­cient in­dus­tries.

To breathe new life into the econ­omy, lead­ers have put for­ward var­i­ous plans to make the coun­try a world leader in ad­vanced in­dus­tries such as semi­con­duc­tors, ro­bot­ics, avi­a­tion equip­ment and satel­lites. The Euro­pean Union Cham­ber of Com­merce in China said it wel­comed China's goals to in­crease in­no­va­tion, re­form state-owned firms, and de­velop en­vi­ron­men­tal tech­nol­ogy as part of an eco­nomic plan for 2016-2020 set out at an an­nual ses­sion of par­lia­ment which closed this week. How­ever, a Made in China 2025 ini­tia­tive to drive do­mes­tic in­no­va­tion would only suc­ceed in tan­dem with mar­kets that are "per­mit­ted to op­er­ate freely", it said in an emailed state­ment.

"Stronger pro­tec­tion for in­tel­lec­tual prop­erty rights and greater re­spect for trade se­crets of firms op­er­at­ing in China are fur­ther ex­am­ples of mea­sures that will sup­port in­no­va­tion," the cham­ber said.

China's re­forms should "in­volve pur- su­ing a gen­uine mar­ket open­ing based on cus­tomers' de­mands, not pol­icy plan­ning", it said. Growth of 6.5 per­cent would be wel­comed by most coun­tries but it would be the slow­est pace in China in a quar­ter cen­tury as the world's se­cond big­gest econ­omy grap­ples with wob­bly fi­nan­cial mar­kets, soft­en­ing global trade and ef­forts to re­duce en­vi­ron­men­tal degra­da­tion. Of­fi­cials have re­peat­edly pledged to lower mar­ket ac­cess bar­ri­ers, but for­eign in­dus­try groups say a list of pro­hib­ited and re­stricted in­dus­tries for for­eign in­vestors is still too broad and must be cut back. Busi­ness ad­vo­cates cite slug­gish progress in re­form ef­forts and pol­icy un­cer­tainty as weak­en­ing con­fi­dence in the mar­ket.

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