Li Keqiang Says Gateway to China Will Only Open Wider

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Premier Li Keqiang has signalled Beijing’s commitment to further opening of the Chinese economy at the closure of the country’s annual Two Sessions, flagging further reductions of import levies and greater access to the finance sector.

Li made the remarks at a press conference held on 20 March following the closure of the 13th National People’s Congress.

“China’s economic and social development performance over the past 40 years has been inseparable from opening. Opening drive reform and spurs development – we can say that the Chinese people have derived benefit from opening.

“President Xi Jinping said during a speech delivered at the Davos Economic Forum at the start of last year that China will continue to maintain free trade, and that opening is the fundamental national policy for China.

“If one were to say that there will be any new changes to China’s opening, then this would be that the gateway will only open wider.

“The Chinese economy is already deeply integrated into the world economy, and shutting the door would only block our own path.

“New changes would mean further expansion of opening, and with regard to opening we still have considerable room and potential.

“For example when it comes to trade, our imported goods levy is at a medium-level globally, but we are willing to further reduce total levies on imported goods with a more open attitude.

“We will significantly reduce the import levies for certain highly popular consumer goods on the market, including pharmaceuticals, and in particular anti-cancer medication that is urgently needed by patients…we will strive to reduce the tax on anti-cancer medication to zero.

“With regard to the services sector, we can say that there is currently a deficit, and that further opening of the services sector will involve paying a definite price, but this will spur increases in our industrial competitiveness.

“The next step will be focused loosening of restrictions on entry to services sectors, including aged care, healthcare, education and finance.

“In certain areas there will be gradual loosening or even a cancellation of restrictions on equity percentages.

“We will also comprehensively open the manufacturing sector, and in this area will not permit the forcible transfer of technology…we will protect intellectual property rights.

“Our foreign investment negative list system will be further adjusted and reduced, and we will accelerate the consolidation of the three laws concerning foreign investment into a single foundational law, in order to fulfil our commitment to equal treatment with Chinese parties prior to market entry.”

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