By Xinhuanet writers Wang Yamei, Miao Mingmei
BEIJING, March 7 (Xinhuanet) -- China has vowed to expand opening-up by diversifying exports markets and expanding imports, boosting foreign investment inflow and advancing the Belt and Road Initiative, which will provide reassurance to global economy.
Premier Li Keqiang said on Tuesday when delivering government work report at the opening of the second session of the 13th National People's Congress that China will step up reform and opening-up to improve market mechanisms and foster new strengths in international economic cooperation and competition.
With its gross domestic product (GDP) totalling 90.0309 trillion yuan (about 13.28 trillion U.S. dollars) in 2018, China's economy grew 6.6 percent year on year, above the official target of around 6.5 percent.
The pace marked the fastest among the world's top five economies. China contributed to nearly 30 percent of the world's economic growth and remained the largest contributor to global growth. This year, it will continue the contribution and has set its GDP growth target at 6-6.5 percent.
DIVERSIFYING EXPORTS MARKETS AND EXPANDING IMPORTS
China's import and export volume hit a historic high of 30.51 trillion yuan (about 4.5 trillion U.S. dollars) in 2018, up 9.7 percent year-on-year, according to official data released by the General Administration of Customs (GAC).
This year, China will work to diversify exports market. The Ministry of Commerce has already unveiled a list of 30 key markets for foreign trade expansion, which will see China actively tap into the potential of emerging and developing economies under the Belt and Road Initiative while continuing to explore the traditional markets in the developed countries.
The ministry will offer enterprises greater support including trade promotion, public information services and government institutional safeguards for trade market diversification.
China will improve import mix when actively expanding import volume. China is committed to building an open world economy, and it is not lip service.
In 2018, China launched policies to ensure steady growth in foreign trade, and cut the time needed for customs clearance by more than half. Import tariffs on some goods were lowered, and the overall tariff level was reduced from 9.8 to 7.5 percent. The total volume of trade in goods exceeded 30 trillion yuan.
It also hosted the first-ever China International Import Expo (CIIE), gathering together more than 3,600 companies from 172 countries, regions and international organizations to showcase their products and services.
Deals for intended one-year purchases of goods and services worth a total of 57.83 billion U.S. dollars were reached at the expo.
China will hold the second expo this year, which will attract more participants and further boost import and consumption.
BOOSTING FOREIGN INVESTMENT INFLOW
China’s utilized foreign investment totaled 138.3 billion U.S. dollars last year.
It will take more effective measures to attract foreign investment in 2019. It will further relax controls over market access, shorten the negative list for foreign investment, and permit wholly foreign funded enterprises to operate in more sectors, the government work report said.
One of the focuses is a draft law on foreign investment that has been submitted for a third reading at the legislative session.
Once adopted, the unified law will replace the three existing laws on Chinese-foreign equity joint ventures, non-equity joint ventures (or contractual joint ventures) and wholly foreign-owned enterprises.
Putting the draft to a vote itself is a timely response to the overseas investors’ concern and their expectation.
The law will go a long way to help China’s efforts to attract more foreign investment, protect their legitimate rights and interests, and foster an environment favorable to doing business.
Just as Premier Li said in the government work report, "China's investment environment is all set to get better and better, which means more and more business opportunities for foreign companies in China are a sure thing."
ADVANCING BELT AND ROAD INITIATIVE
To push forward all-round opening up, China will also promote the joint pursuit of the Belt and Road Initiative, an international cooperation platform for common development that has brought tangible benefits to many countries since 2013.
The government work report shows cooperation mechanisms for countries along the Belt and Road are steadily improving, and economic cooperation, trade, and cultural and people-to-people exchanges under the initiative have gathered momentum.
The initiative has promoted local economic development and been welcomed by more and more countries along the Belt and Road. Over 100 countries and international organizations had actively supported and participated in the initiative by the end of last year.
To further the fruits, the second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation will be held next month.