Premier Li Keqiang has flagged further opening of the Chinese economy during a meeting convened with the Ministry of Commerce and the General Administration of Customs on 21 May, extolling the benefits it will bring to China’s ongoing reform process.
“Over the 40 years, opening has vigorously driven reform and expediting development,” said Li according to state media reports.
“In a new historic era, further expansion of opening is our necessary strategic choice. Deepening of various reforms, stimulation of market vitality, optimisation of the development environment and advancing high-quality development must all be driven via even higher levels of opening.
Li said that China must actively drive a transition in foreign trade towards “quality imports and quality exports” while it expanded domestic demand, and further expand imports of high-quality goods and services needed for key technologies and adapting to consumption upgrades.”
He also pointed to the need to encourage enterprises to actively participate in competition on the international market, vigorously drive innovation, raise the grade and brand influence of exported goods, cultivate new drivers of foreign trade growth, and invest effort into the development of a diversified market.
“[We] need to uphold equal emphasis on imports and exports, and expedite bidirectional investment and coordinated development.
“[We will] amend and complete the foreign investment negative list as soon as possible, further loosen market entry thresholds, research and implement more forceful and effective policies for attracting foreign investment, strengthen intellectual property rights, accelerate the establishment of a fair and competitive environment that abides by laws and regulations, raise the ‘magnetic appeal’ of China for foreign investors, and expedite increases to domestic technology and management levels in relevant areas.
“We will drive healthy, standardised growth of outbound foreign investment, and participate in international cooperation to a greater extent on a greater scope.”
Li Keqiang’s remarks come just following the easing of Sino-US trade tensions that first flared up in April, with a commitment from Beijing to help reduce the American trade deficit vis-a-vis China via greater purchases of US goods.
President Xi Jinping and central bank governor Yi Gang also heavily stressed China’s commitment to further opening of its economy at the 2018 Bo’ao Forum for Asia at the start of April.