Xiconomics: China's commitment to opening up helps global economic recovery
Photo taken on Aug. 29, 2022 shows a view of Shougang Park in Beijing, capital of China. (Xinhua/Ren Chao)
BEIJING, Aug. 30 (Xinhua) -- The 2022 China International Fair for Trade in Services (CIFTIS) will be held here from Aug. 31 to Sept. 5, providing platforms for international exchanges as the world struggles with a sluggish economic recovery.
Along with the China International Import Expo (CIIE) and the China Import and Export Fair (Canton Fair), the three major exhibition platforms are renowned for boosting the country's high-quality economic development and adopting a win-win approach to the world.
China's unwavering openness to the rest of the world extends far beyond the three high-profile events. Under the guidance of Chinese President Xi Jinping's economic thought, China has remained a staunch supporter of globalization and multilateralism while confronting resurging protectionism and global economic headwinds.
OPENING WIDER UNWAVERINGLY
"No matter how the world changes, China's faith in and its commitment to reform and opening-up will not waver," Xi said in a keynote speech via video at the opening ceremony of the Boao Forum for Asia Annual Conference 2022 in April.
Xi has repeatedly stated that China's determination to open up further to the outside world remains unwavering.
Calling opening-up "the hallmark of contemporary China," Xi said in a keynote speech at the opening ceremony of the fourth CIIE last November that "we will not change our resolve to open wider at a high standard; we will not change our determination to share development opportunities with the rest of the world; and we will not change our commitment to an economic globalization that is more open, inclusive, balanced and beneficial for all."
For long-time China observers such as Mehmood UI Hassan Khan, executive director of Pakistan's Center for South Asia & International Studies, China's pledge to further open up is beyond question.
"China has pursued an open, interactive, productive, and participatory development strategy, and openness has become a Chinese trademark," he said, describing China's reform and opening-up over the past 40-odd years as "an epic journey for the Chinese people, the region, and the world alike."
People visit the 130th session of the China Import and Export Fair, or the Canton Fair, in Guangzhou, south China's Guangdong Province, Oct. 15, 2021. (Xinhua/Liu Dawei)
"China has grown by embracing the rest of the world, and the rest of the world has benefited from China's opening up," he added.
The 2022 CIFTIS is held as protectionism is resurging in some parts of the world. Geopolitical tensions and other uncertainties have also disrupted global supply chains and harmed global economic recovery prospects.
China's commitment to opening-up is exemplified by its determination to hold the 2022 CIFTIS despite global economic instability, said Abu Bakr al-Deeb, an advisor to the Cairo-based Arab Center for Research and Studies.
"It is strong evidence of China's willingness and persistence in continuing the cycle of work and activities. China does not want to stop all possible means of achieving welfare for its people and promoting cooperation with other countries around the world," he said.
OFFERING NEW OPPORTUNITIES
Thanks to reform and opening-up, China has made milestone economic and social development achievements in the past decade. The contribution of China's economy to global economic growth has stood at around 30 percent in recent years, making it the largest growth engine for the global economy.
New opportunities for foreign investors have resulted from China's concrete actions to expand high-level opening-up, which has encouraged the flow of goods and production factors and steadily expanded institutional opening-up regarding rules, regulations, management practices and standards.
In recent years, China has continued widening market access and shortening the negative list for foreign investment. It has put into force laws and regulations, including the Foreign Investment Law, to protect foreign investors' legitimate rights and interests.
Meanwhile, in 2013, the first pilot free trade zone was established in Shanghai. Today, the number of such zones has reached 21, including the entire island of Hainan.
"China has adopted key steps to continue integration with the regional and global economies and has demonstrated a will to promote the domestic market further in meeting high standards of economic openness," said Ismael Buchanan, a senior lecturer at the Department of Political Science at the University of Rwanda.
In interviews with Xinhua, many business leaders said that China's ongoing efforts to open up, along with other factors such as a massive domestic market and a complete industrial chain, have boosted their confidence in investing in the Asian country.
Photo taken on March 2, 2022 shows the container terminal of Qinzhou Port in south China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region. (Xinhua)
"China's reform and opening-up efforts show the country's position to promote economic globalization and encourage foreign investment in the country, putting in place measures and systems to equalize the treatment of foreign and domestic investors and further reinforcing our confidence in an investment partnership with Chinese companies," said Michael Gelchie, chief executive officer of Louis Dreyfus Company, a Europe-based merchant firm involved in agriculture, food processing, international shipping and finance.
According to data from the Chinese Ministry of Commerce, foreign direct investment into the Chinese mainland registered double-digit growth in the first half of this year, increasing 17.4 percent year on year to 723.31 billion yuan in actual use. The inflow went up 21.8 percent from a year ago to 112.35 billion dollars in U.S. dollar terms.
For Harley Seyedin, president of the American Chamber of Commerce in South China, the current Chinese policy "provides a stable and high-quality business environment and political support for overseas investment."
"It is because of the great achievements of reform and opening up that more and more foreign-funded enterprises pour into China to seek business opportunities," said Seyedin.
SAFEGUARDING ECONOMIC GLOBALIZATION
Despite the countercurrents of protectionism and unilateralism in some Western countries, China has remained committed to promoting win-win cooperation and joint development through its drive to opening-up, injecting confidence and momentum into an uncertain world.
"We must stay on top of the prevailing trend of economic globalization and support countries around the world in opening up wider while rejecting unilateralism and protectionism. This is significantly important if we are to take humanity to a better future," said Xi at the opening ceremony of the fourth CIIE last November.
People visit the 4th China International Import Expo (CIIE) in east China's Shanghai, Nov. 5, 2021. (Xinhua/Li Xiang)
In his special address to the 2022 World Economic Forum virtual session in January, Xi reiterated that economic globalization is the trend of the times.
"We should remove barriers, not erect walls. We should open up, not close off. We should seek integration, not decoupling. This is the way to build an open world economy," he said.
China's active economic cooperation with other countries around the world has undoubtedly contributed to global economic recovery and promoted international cooperation in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, said Tao Lin, vice president of Tesla.
Noting that there is not very much coordinated efforts to overcome the economic difficulties in the post pandemic period, Selcuk Colakoglu, director of the Ankara-based Turkish Center for Asia-Pacific Studies, said that the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is a clear sign of China's commitment to integrating with other economies and safeguarding economic globalization.
Since its inception in 2013, over 140 countries spanning different regions, cultures and stages of development, and more than 30 international organizations, have signed BRI cooperation documents with China. According to official data, China's trade with countries along the Belt and Road soared 19.8 percent from January to July year on year.
"The BRI vision has a much broader scope, promoting not only trade but also services, joint industries, joint investments and joint infrastructure construction," said Colakoglu.
"In this regard, China's vision is critical for boosting regional and global economic cooperation."