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China’s Achievements in Opening Up in the First Decade of the New Era

By Qiu Ping Source: Updated: 2023-06-14

In the first decade of the new era that began in 2012, China has pursued a more proactive strategy of opening up and advanced a broader agenda of opening up across more areas and in greater depth.

The more developed, the more open China becomes

The more China develops, the more open it becomes, and vice versa.

Over the past decade, China’s open economy has racked up several historic achievements. Gross domestic product has risen from 53.9 trillion yuan to 114.9 trillion yuan.

China has ranked first in the world in terms of the total volume of trade in goods and services for two years running. China’s share of global foreign direct investment inflows has increased from 8.2% to 11.4%, and China has remained one of the top three outbound investors in the world.

Pursuing high-standard opening up

Over the past ten years, China has initiated a management model for foreign investment based on pre-establishment national treatment and a negative list, which has led to a reduction in the number of related restrictions from 93 to 31. We have enacted the Foreign Investment Law and further improved the legal framework for foreign investment. So far, we have established 21 pilot free trade zones, which now account for 17.8% of all imports and exports and 17.9% of foreign investment inflows.

Development of the Hainan Free Trade Port has been accelerated, with more than 120 institutional innovation outcomes rolled out to date. The Export Control Law has been promulgated and the Unreliable Entity List System has been put into place. These have helped keep industrial and supply chains secure and provided security guarantees for the expansion of high-standard opening up.

Working for an open world economy

Over the past ten years, China has actively participated in global economic governance and firmly upheld the multilateral trading system.

China has worked for the entry into force of the WTO’s Trade Facilitation Agreement concluded in 2013, for the expansion of the WTO’s Information Technology Agreement concluded in 2015, and for the delivery of a series of positive outcomes at the 12th WTO Ministerial Conference in 2022. It has also fully implemented a strategy for upgrading free trade zones. The number of free trade agreements concluded by China has increased from 10 to 19, and the trade with its free trade partners now account for about 35% of China’s total trade, up from 17%.

In addition, China has signed and implemented the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) agreement and is actively working to accede to the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) and the Digital Economy Partnership Agreement (DEPA).

The China International Import Expo has been held for five years in a row, becoming a showcase for the country’s new development dynamic, a platform for high-standard opening up, and a public good that benefits countries around the world. Through open development, China has provided a steady stream of fresh momentum for global openness and cooperation.

Advancing the building of a global community of shared future

Over the past ten years, China has made impressive achievements in promoting economic and trade cooperation under the Belt and Road Initiative.

From 2013 to 2021, the cumulative volume of trade in goods between China and countries along the Belt and Road reached almost US$11 trillion, and China’s direct investment in these countries came to US$161.3 billion.

High-quality development of overseas economic and trade cooperation zones and positive progress on “small and beautiful” overseas projects have helped boost local tax revenues and employment opportunities in host countries and provided support for developing nations in accelerating development, thus creating tangible benefits for local people.

China has demonstrated its commitment to continuous opening up through concrete actions. In doing so, it has not only promoted its own development but created benefits for countries around the world.