China Leads the World to Openness
Opening up has been key to China’s economic growth over the past 40 years and similarly, future high-quality economic development can only be achieved through greater openness.
This year marks the 40th anniversary of China’s reform and opening up. Over the last four decades, China has constantly consolidated its connection with countries around the world. The period also brought rapid social and economic development to China. Now, as a major economic power, China’s global influence is increasing with each passing day.
The world is now undergoing tremendous development and adjustment. China faces grave challenges as it endeavors to transform its development patterns, optimize its economic structure and adjust its growth engines. Considering the profound changes in the international landscape, methods to deepen reform and opening up have become a significant chunk of China’s adjustment of development strategies.
On April 10, Chinese President Xi Jinping delivered a keynote speech themed “Openness for Greater Prosperity, Innovation for a Better Future” at the opening ceremony of the Boao Forum for Asia (BFA) Annual Conference 2018, in which he offered his objective assessment of the global situations faced by China’s reform and opening up and answered important questions including how to continue deepening the reform and opening up. China is leading the world into a new era of openness. Openness Key to Win-win Results
Since the beginning of 2018, the international situation facing China’s reform and opening up has become increasingly complicated. Trade friction between China and the United States, in particular, tends to escalate. On March 8, U.S. President Donald Trump signed an order that raises tariffs on steel and aluminum imports. On March 20, Trump signed a memorandum to impose tariffs on nearly US 50 billion worth of Chinese imports, under the pretext that China has forcefully acquired U.S. technologies.
China warned it would take countermeasures. On March 23, China’s Ministry of Commerce announced a proposal to levy retaliatory tariffs on some U.S. exports to China in response to the U.S. 232 Trade Action on steel and aluminum.
On April 5, President Trump instructed U.S. trade representative to consider US 100 billion in additional tariffs against China based on the results of an investigation under Section 301.
Trade friction between China and the United States has, to some extent, disturbed China’s reform and opening up, stirring worldwide concern about whether the issue will weaken China’s determination to open up and how the country will continue reforms in the future. In this context, President Xi Jinping assured the world that China’s door of
opening up will not close—it will only open even wider.
Human history has shown openness leads to progress and seclusion leaves one behind. The world has become a global village of intertwined interests and interconnected economic and social progress. To promote common prosperity and development in today’s world, all countries have no choice but to pursue greater connectivity and integrated development.
China will continue to increase openness and expand cooperation as it stays committed to the strategy of opening up for win-win results. The nation will continue to work alongside the rest of the world and make greater contribution to mankind by holding firm to the path of peaceful development and staunchly supporting multilateralism.
Recent history has shown that opening up was key to China’s economic growth over the past 40 years and similarly, future highquality economic development can only be achieved through greater openness. This was a strategic decision made by China based on its development needs that turned into action
to nudge economic globalization in a direction that benefits more people around the world.
Today, China continues deepening its opening up. Not only does this mark a new phase of openness at a new starting point based on the country’s four decades of reform and opening up, but it also meets the demands of global economic development in the new era. China’s outward-oriented development strategy is vital to the steady growth of the global economy.
In the two decades from 1980 to 1999, China contributed 3.7 percent of nominal global growth, and the United States 31.5 percent. From 2000 to 2007, before the outbreak of the 2008 global financial crisis, China’s contribution rate to global economic growth rose to 9.7 percent, while that of the United States dropped to 17.3 percent. If the impact of the worldwide financial crisis is taken into consideration, China contributed 46.9 percent of global growth from 2008 to 2017, and the United States 29.7 percent. In 2017, China still contributed 30 percent of global growth. China has overtaken the United States to become the biggest contributor to global economic growth, so its deeper opening up will play a lead role in the world.
Upgraded Version of Reform and Opening Up
At this year’s BFA Annual Conference, President Xi Jinping presented four major measures to pursue further opening: First, China will significantly broaden market access. The country will accelerate the opening of its service sector, especially the finance industry, and fully open the manufacturing sector with focus on automobiles, ships and aircraft. Second, China will create a more attractive investment environment by enhancing alignment with international economic and trade rules, removing the systematic and institutional obstacles that prevent the market from playing a more decisive role in resource allocation while enhancing the government’s role and implementing an across-the-board management system based on pre-established national treatment and a negative list. Third, China will strengthen protection of intellectual property rights (IPR). It is taking measures to re-institute the State Intellectual Property Office and protect lawful IPR owned by foreign enterprises in China. At the same time, it hopes foreign governments will accordingly improve protection of Chinese IPR. Fourth, China will make positive steps to expand imports. The country does not seek a trade surplus, but maintains a genuine desire to increase imports and achieve greater balance of international payments under the current account. China will significantly lower the import tariffs on automobiles and reduce tariffs on some other products. It will seek faster progress toward joining the WTO Government Procurement Agreement.
Despite rising anti-globalization sentiment and escalating China-u.s. trade friction, China steadily continues opening up further. This move demonstrates China’s theoretical and practical innovation in opening up and further solidifies its new vision of seeking open development in the new era.
In recent years, China has worked with other countries to jointly promote the Belt and Road Initiative, which has accelerated the formation of an open economic pattern, called for construction of an open global economy and actively guided global economic governance. These measures will move globalization forward and inspire countries around the world to carry out closer and more open cooperation.
With the adjustment and implementation of its opening-up strategy in the new era, China will further enhance cooperation with other countries and stride towards its goal of building a community with a shared future for all mankind.
The author is a professor and vice director of the Office of World Economics at the International Strategy Academy, Party School of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC).
From April 8 to 11, the 2018 annual conference of the Boao Forum for Asia, themed “An Open and Innovative Asia for a World of Greater Prosperity,” was held in Boao, a coastal town in Hainan Province. by Chen Jian
A logo of the Boao Forum for Asia. by Xu Xun