Hainan [China]: Chinese President Xi Jinping on Tuesday unveiled a host of economic plans and measures for the development of the economy.
Delivering the keynote address at the Boao Forum for Asia here, President Xi noted that with a focus on Asia and a global perspective, the forum has witnessed active discussions and produced many valuable “Boao proposals” since its inception.
Furthermore, he noted that these proposals have helped build consensus in Asia, encourage cooperation, promote economic globalisation and advance the building of a community with a shared future for mankind.
At the onset of the address, President Xi stated that China’s GDP has grown by an average of 9.5 percent in the past 40 years, while the country’s foreign trade has registered an annual growth of 14.5 percent in U.S. dollar.
“The Chinese people have emerged from a life of shortages and poverty and are now enjoying abundant supply and a moderately prosperous life. According to current United Nations (UN) standards, more than 700 million Chinese people have been lifted out of poverty, accounting for more than 70 percent of the global total over the same period,” he said.
With China’s foreign trade snowballing, President Xi stated that measures would be taken by the government to broaden market access, thereby creating a more attractive investment destination and a complete revision of the negative list on foreign investment.
Vowing to remove systematic and institutional obstacles, President Xi said China’s socialist market economy has embraced openness and co-operation, adding that the world is undergoing a new wave of change and profound adjustment amid uncertainties posed due to a new round of technological and industrial changes.
Beside economic cooperation, President Xi also highlighted the importance of promoting cooperation in areas including education, tourism and poverty alleviation, along with sustainable development and environmental protection.
“Chinese people will continue to take bold steps in innovation to boost development, following the people-centred development philosophy. China will deepen supply-side structural reform, innovation-driven development, and rural development,” he added.
To promote high standards of liberalisation and facilitation of trade and investment, President Xi said China is looking to explore the opening of free trade ports with ‘Chinese characteristics’.
“We will pay equal attention to bringing in and going global, and break new ground in opening China further through links running eastward and westward, across the land and over the sea,” he said at the Forum.
Furthermore, President Xi assured that China would significantly lower import tariffs for vehicles and other commodities of necessity to the Chinese people. He also stated that the country would seek faster progress towards joining the WTO Government Procurement Agreement.
“China does not seek trade surplus; we have a genuine desire to increase imports and achieve a greater balance of international payments under the current account,” he added.
President Xi also extended an invitation to world economies to attend the first China International Import Expo to be held in Shanghai in November this year while indicating China’s intention to open up the market.
He also said China hopes developed countries will stop imposing restrictions on normal and reasonable trade of high-tech products and relax export controls on such trade with China.
President Xi further revealed that China would strengthen the protection of intellectual property rights (IPR), which is the ‘centrepiece of the system for improving property rights protection, and would provide the biggest boost to enhancing the competitiveness of the Chinese economy’.
“We encourage normal technological exchanges and cooperation between Chinese and foreign enterprises, and protect the lawful IPR owned by foreign enterprises in China,” he said.
He also stated that measures unveiled to raise foreign equity would be materialised this year, and steps would be implemented to open up the insurance market, ease restrictions on foreign equity and trade, thereby opening up an avenue for investment.
President Xi also hailed China’s Belt and Road Initiative as one that would benefit various world economies, in spite of being a domestic initiative.
“With this initiative, China will enter a new phase of opening up. Although the BRI is China’s initiative, it will benefit a number of economies. So far, 80 countries and organisations are involved in this,” he added.
Amid announcing a slew of economic reforms, President Xi opined that in a world aspiring for peace and development, the cold-war and zero-sum mentality will not find a place.
“Putting oneself on a pedestal or trying to immune oneself from adverse developments will get nowhere. Humanity has a major choice to make between openness and isolation, and between progress and retrogression. We must dispel the clouds to see the sun, as we say in Chinese, so as to have a keen grasp of the law of history and the trend of the world,” he said.
The Chinese President added that in an era of overwhelming reform and innovation, those who reject them will fall behind the rest.
On a related note, this year’s conference is being held from April 8 to 11 in Boao, and is themed “An Open and Innovative Asia for a World of Greater Prosperity.” (ANI)