China’s opening-up pledge not watered down

BEIJING, Nov. 6 (Xinhua) — Having upheld and benefitted from its opening-up policy for decades, China, a major contributor to a global open economy, has once again reaffirmed its sincerity and resolution to open wider.

President Xi Jinping has vowed to remain steadfast in further opening up, announcing an array of new measures for expanding all-round opening up at the ongoing third China International Import Expo (CIIE).

Contrary to a number of biased media reports, China has delivered on all its opening-up pledges made at last year’s CIIE event, despite the disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and growing headwinds of protectionist tendencies outside the country.

Xi told the world’s first import-themed national-level expo that all measures “have been implemented to the full” and China, one of the world’s top importers, aims to turn its domestic market into “a market for the world, a market shared by all and a market accessible to all.”

China’s latest opening-up promise serves as a timely reassurance for investors and observers. It is also a clarification over the world’s second-largest economy’s growth paradigm.

Doubts and misjudgment have emerged after China said it would fully tap into its super-large market and develop the potential for domestic demand to establish a new development pattern that would feature domestic and international complementary “Dual Circulation.” Some are even wondering which way is China’s door swinging?

Xi’s latest pledge means there is no watering down envisaged. The expo itself is a concrete measure of opening wider and commitment to supporting economic globalization.

The new pattern, widely expected to be a national priority in China’s 14th Five-Year Plan period (2021-2025), coincides with Beijing’s efforts to transform its economy from export-driven to consumption-driven. It does not imply that China will shut its door to the outside world. China knows too well that a constrained or closed-door market would do itself no good.

The new development pattern could be viewed as China’s new solution of coordinating domestic development and opening-up to seek a higher level of economic equilibrium. Expansion of the domestic market will accordingly entail more imports and foreign investment, creating fresh opportunities for foreign players eyeing the vast Chinese market.

Revisiting the process of China’s “reform and opening up” since it began in the late 1970s, one will easily see that grand initiatives have benefited China and the world as a whole.

China has not been opening up to appease and please foreigners. Neither is it a one-sided beneficiary of the open global economy. It has been doing so for its own good and to benefit the world.

Tax reductions, trimmed negative lists for foreign investment and the lifting of foreign-ownership caps have brought in a larger inflow of capital, boosted the Chinese economy via increased competition and closely knit the once self-secluded “Middle Kingdom” into world communities. It has also offered the world affordable merchandise, more investment opportunities and alternative supply chains.

The opening-up will never end. To further open itself up, China will reduce restrictions, cut bureaucratic red tape and institutionalize more market mechanisms. Those measures will help the largest trading partner of more than 120 countries and regions to become more closely interdependent with the world.

Fairly speaking, China’s opening-up strategy does not come without a price. Issues and concerns that come with the opening-up, such as the wealth gap and financial complexity, however, cannot be properly addressed by China turning its back on the rest of the world. China has the competence and confidence to well handle these challenges as it opens wider.

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