ADB Vice Pres­i­dent: China’s Fur­ther Open­ing Up Is En­cour­ag­ing

Stephen P. Groff, vice pres­i­dent of the Asian De­vel­op­ment Bank, be­lieves that the re­form and open­ing up is an im­por­tant process not only for the de­vel­op­ment of China but also for Asia as a whole.

China Pictorial (English) - - Contents - Text by Hu Zhoumeng

“The idea of fur­ther open­ing up, as was the fo­cus of Pres­i­dent Xi’s speech, is great, es­pe­cially his com­mit­ment to open­ing the fi­nan­cial sec­tor,” re­marked Stephen P. Groff, vice pres­i­dent of the Asian De­vel­op­ment Bank (ADB), on April 10 when he at­tended the Boao Fo­rum for Asia (BFA) An­nual Con­fer­ence 2018. “It will pro­vide a lot of op­por­tu­ni­ties. We will def­i­nitely sup­port it.”

Even though this was the sev­enth time that Groff had at­tended the BFA, he was par­tic­u­larly im­pressed by Chi­nese Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping’s keynote speech at the open­ing cer­e­mony of this year’s con­fer­ence. Xi de­clared that China would ac­cel­er­ate the open­ing up of the in­sur­ance in­dus­try, ease re­stric­tions on the es­tab­lish­ment of for­eign fi­nan­cial in­sti­tu­tions in China, ex­pand their busi­ness scope and open up more ar­eas for co­op­er­a­tion be­tween Chi­nese and for­eign fi­nan­cial mar­kets.

“The ar­eas Pres­i­dent Xi spec­i­fied that China would con­tinue open­ing up are ex­actly the right ar­eas the coun­try needs to fo­cus on,” Groff ex­plained. “He set the right tone and de­liv­ered the right mes­sage at a time when a lot of zero-sum rhetoric is emerg­ing around the world. Open­ness and con­tin­ual re­form are crit­i­cal com­po­nents of fu­ture global growth and co­op­er­a­tion.”

Groff be­lieves that free and open trade regimes have been sig­nif­i­cant con­trib­u­tors to un­der­pin global eco­nomic growth over the last five to ten years. “Any move that re­stricts or ham­pers free trade will make a neg­a­tive im­pact on global growth.”

When asked about China’s step to im­prove the in­vest­ment en­vi­ron­ment, Groff re­sponded, “It is all about en­sur­ing in­vestors have equal op­por­tu­ni­ties to in­vest in the com­pet­i­tive en­vi­ron­ment. Pres­i­dent Xi put a lot of cards on the ta­ble with re­gard to en­force­ment of in­tel­lec­tual prop­erty rights, ju­di­ciary re­form and anti-cor­rup­tion.”

He noted that the moves the Chi­nese

govern­ment plans to make are “very pos­i­tive” and “en­cour­ag­ing.” He opined that wider ac­cess to the Chi­nese mar­ket is ben­e­fi­cial for China as well as for the world.

“In­creased com­pe­ti­tion in these sec­tors will ul­ti­mately re­sult in in­creased pro­duc­tion, in­creased in­no­va­tion and re­duced costs,” Groff noted. “The open­ing-up mea­sures gen­er­ate winwin prospects. They are pos­i­tive for the world econ­omy as well as for Chi­nese con­sumers.”

Groff be­lieves that the re­form and open­ing up is an im­por­tant process not only for the de­vel­op­ment of China but also for Asia as a whole. “In es­tab­lish­ing a de­vel­op­ment nar­ra­tive for Asia, the ex­am­ple set by China is cru­cially im­por­tant.”

This year marks the fifth an­niver­sary of the launch of the Belt and Road Ini­tia­tive. “Fi­nan­cial in­te­gra­tion is in­cred­i­bly im­por­tant for strength­en­ing the re­silience of in­di­vid­ual coun­tries,” Groff added. “The more these coun­tries be­come in­te­grated, the less risk they ab­sorb from each eco­nomic shock.” He re­vealed that the ADB is ac­tively link­ing some sub-re­gional pro­grams in­volved with the Ini­tia­tive.

As for dis­cus­sions of a com­mu­nity with a shared fu­ture for mankind, Groff said: “The fu­ture of our world is highly de­pen­dent on in­ter­na­tional co­op­er­a­tion. Uni­lat­eral ap­proaches are no longer ap­pro­pri­ate in terms of ad­dress­ing chal­lenges fac­ing the world to­day.”

April 10, 2018: Stephen P. Groff, vice pres­i­dent of the Asian De­vel­op­ment Bank, meets the press at the Boao Fo­rum for Asia (BFA) An­nual Con­fer­ence in Boao Town, in the south­ern Chi­nese prov­ince of Hainan. by Chen Ye

April 16, 2018: A ware­house of JD Group, a Chi­nese e-com­merce gi­ant, in the Nan­sha Area of the China (Guang­dong) Pi­lot Free Trade Zone in Guangzhou, cap­i­tal of Guang­dong Prov­ince. It has been re­ported that in­ter­na­tional trade in the area has risen from...

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