Zhang Yuyan: Accelerating Reform for a New Round of Opening Up
China will not close its door to the world, but only become more and more open.
In the report that he delivered to the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC) on October 18, 2017, Xi Jinping, general secretary of the CPC Central Committee, stressed that China would promote the formation of a new pattern of all-around opening up.
On March 5, 2018, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang also proposed in the government work report delivered at the opening meeting of the first session of the 13th National People’s Congress that China’s general manufacturing sector will be completely opened up and access to sectors like telecommunications, medical services, education, elderly care and new-energy vehicles will be expanded.
Zhang Yuyan, a member of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference and director of the Institute of World Economics and Politics under the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, explains that the aforesaid policies proposed in the government work report fully demonstrate the general mission of the CPC Central Committee to further expand the scope and levels of opening up and promote high-quality development with high-level opening up.
All-around opening up is an important driving force to promote China’s economic and social development and the only method to
achieve prosperity and development. In Zhang’s opinion, all-around opening up includes not only opening industrial sectors, but also expanding and balancing the opening scope to various regions and countries.
“We should be open to developed and developing countries alike,” Zhang opines. “For quite a long time, developed countries were China’s major economic and trade partners. In the new era, we should pay more attention to strengthening economic and trade ties with developing countries and expanding our common interests with them. We could even consider exempting some neighboring low-income developing countries from tariffs and quotas.”
“As for opening various regions in China, we should expand from coastal areas to serve both coastal and inland areas,” he continues. “As the Belt and Road Initiative continues accelerating its progress at home and abroad, it will definitely lead to wider opening up of the central and western parts of China.”
Zhang Yuyan believes that further deepening reform and opening up will promote the formation of a new pattern of all-around opening up that will help Chinese enterprises, organizations and individuals actively participate in the international division of labor as well as in global cooperation and competition, so as to enhance China’s influence on global economic governance and accelerate the long-term and stable growth of China’s economy.
“As the world’s second-largest economy, the outcomes of China’s opening up must go two ways and promote our own development while at the same time stimulating openness and growth in other countries,” Zhang remarks. “Ultimately, it will produce mutual benefits and win-win results as well as an inclusive development situation that will push the international economic order in a fairer and more reasonable direction as it promotes the construction of a community with a shared future for mankind.”
On how to push forward a new pattern of all-around opening up, Zhang offers five suggestions:
First, we need to continue to uphold the concept of free trade. On the basis of equal consultation, we should consider reducing tariffs and non-tariff barriers in accordance with China’s specific conditions and rhythm to help developing countries participating in the Belt and Road Initiative catch and even hitchhike onto the “express train” of China’s development.
Second, we must continue negotiations on bilateral and multilateral free trade zones (FTZS) in which China has already participated. And at an opportune time, we should propose negotiations to establish FTZS and multilateral investment agreements focused on countries along the Belt and Road routes.
Third, China should work to develop trade and investment laws that meet the requirements of multilateral mechanisms and suit China’s national conditions to increase the transparency of China’s trade and investment policies and systems.
Fourth, based on the government’s prudent and wise regulation, we should continue to promote the marketization of the mechanism covering the renminbi (RMB) exchange rate, advance the convertibility of the RMB and accelerate wider opening of the financial services industry.
Fifth, we should accelerate the establishment of a trade adjustment and aid mechanism consistent with WTO rules and China’s national conditions to provide assistance to industries and enterprises that have been hurt by external competition.
“China will not close its door to the world; it will only become more and more open,” Zhang declares. “The formation of a new pattern of all-round opening up will not only benefit the Chinese people, but also people around the world.”
All-around opening up includes not only opening industrial sectors, but also expanding and balancing the opening scope to various regions and countries.
Zhang Yuyan, member of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference and director of the Institute of World Economics and Politics under the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, has deep insight on how China can...