Country sets the bar higher as it drives openness

Aerial photo taken on December 5, 2021 shows the sunrise of the Yangpu International Container Port in the Yangpu Economic Development Zone, south China’s Hainan Province. [Photo/Xinhua]

According to experts and business leaders, China should advance institutional innovations to decisively expand global openness and accelerate the establishment of an open economy of higher standards.

Such efforts will better connect domestic and foreign markets and share development dividends with the rest of the world, bringing greater certainty to the global economy in the face of multiple challenges, including the impact of the pandemic of COVID-19 and the rise of protectionism, they said.

“It is quite clear that China has become well prepared to better align with high-level international economic and trade rules and advance institutional opening,” said Huo Jianguo, vice president of the China Society for World. Trade Organization Studies.

According to the recent annual Central Economic Work Conference, which sets the tone, the country will promote institutional openness, better apply national treatment for foreign companies, attract more multinational companies to invest and promote the rapid implementation of large foreign investment projects.

The meeting called for taking the lead in aligning high-level international economic and trade rules and boosting development through reform and opening-up policies next year.

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said on Wednesday that companies around the world are urged to increase investment in China and deepen cooperation in various fields to achieve common development. He made the remark during a virtual dialogue with business leaders from the Global CEO Council in Beijing.

Zhang Yansheng, chief researcher at the China Center for International Economic Exchange, said China’s pursuit of establishing a higher-level open economy has opened a chapter in a new era, marked by its efforts to promote global cooperation. in areas such as the service sector, digital trade and green development.

The country’s candidacy for membership in the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement on Trans-Pacific Partnership, an 11-country trade agreement with high standards in trade rules and market access, has promised a big step forward in national reforms and institutional opening, said Zhang.

Huo from the China Society for World Trade Organization Studies said that high-level institutional opening would further improve the business environment towards more market, more law-abiding and more internationalized to meet international standards of high level.

“China is expected to make major changes in areas such as government procurement, intellectual property rights, data flows, environmental protection, labor standards and state-owned enterprises, as it aims to join the CPTPP, ”he said.

Increased trials in pilot free trade zones are foreseeable to accumulate experience in high-level institutional opening, while other measures to better open up the services sector are also expected, as the sector accounts for nearly 80% of foreign investment inflows to China, he added.

As part of its efforts to further open up the services sector, China lifted foreign ownership caps on securities, fund and futures companies in early 2020.

More foreign financial institutions are expected to take advantage of the country’s opening-up program to expand their investment and business organization in China next year, experts said.

David Chin, UBS Country Director for China, said the global financial services firm is looking to increase its stake in UBS Securities, its investment banking joint venture in the country, from 51% to 67%, which will help to diversify the business sector of the company and strengthen its competitive advantage.

The company believes China’s opening-up measures will continue and provide great growth opportunities for the investment bank, said Chin, who is also head of Asia-Pacific investment banking for UBS. .


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