President Xi Jinping has flagged China’s ambitions to further open the finance sector and automobile industry, reduce the trade surplus, better protect intellectual property rights and create a more appealing environment for foreign investors during a speech at the 2018 Boao Forum for Asia.
On economic opening
Xi said that China will “greatly loosen market entry thresholds,” particularly in the services sector and the financial sector.
“We must ensure the implementation of the key measure announced at the end of last year of the loosening of restrictions on foreign equity percentages in the banking, securities and insurance sectors…[we must] also accelerate the progress of the opening of the insurance sector, loosen restrictions on the establishment of foreign-invested financial institutions, expand the scope for foreign-invested financial institutions to operate within China, and expand the scope of Sino-foreign financial market cooperation.
“With respect to manufacturing, we have already fundamentally opened up, with restrictions primarily retained in only a small number of sectors such as automobiles, shipping and airplanes.
“These sectors all have the foundations for opening, and the next step will be to loosen restrictions on foreign investment percentages as soon as possible, especially in the automobile sector.”
On the topic of expanding imports
“China does not make the pursuit of a trade surplus its objective, and sincerely hopes to expand imports and expedite a rebalancing of the current account.
“This year, we will greatly reduce tariffs on automobile imports, as well as greatly reduce tariffs on a number of other goods, strive to expand imports of special, advantageous products for which the masses of the people have more concentrated demand, and accelerate the schedule for accession to the World Trade Organization’s ‘Agreement on Government Procurement.’
“We hope that developed countries will cease to impose artificial restrictions on the normal and rational trade in hi-tech products, and loosen restrictions on the exports of hi-tech products to China.
On the topic of intellectual property
“This year, we will reorganise the State Intellectual Property Rights Department, improve and expand enforcement capability, and markedly increase the cost of legal breaches.
“We encourage Chinese and foreign enterprises to undertake normal technological exchange and cooperation, and will protect the lawful intellectual property rights of foreign enterprises in China.
“At the same time, we hope that foreign governments will strengthen the protection of Chinese intellectual property rights.”
On foreign investment
“China will create an investment environment that is appealing. In the first half of this year, we will complete work for the amendment of the foreign investment negative list, and comprehensively implement treatment equal to citizens prior to market entry.”
On the topic of reform
“In a new era, the Chinese people will continue to ceaselessly self-strengthen and self-reform…[and] firmly, unwaveringly and comprehensively deepen reforms…with the bravery to break through hardened divisions of interest and implement reform to the very end.”