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China's proactive opening up expands mutual dividends

Source: Xinhua Updated: 2024-03-13

by Xinhua writer Wang Aona

BEIJING -- With mutual benefit a major hallmark of China's opening up, the country has been expanding high-standard opening up more proactively, which will create new dividends for the world.

China will boost its imports of high-quality goods, fully apply the negative list for cross-border trade in services, and abolish all market access restrictions on foreign investment in manufacturing, according to the government work report delivered at the second session of the 14th National People's Congress, the national legislature.

The country will also reduce market access restrictions in service sectors such as telecommunications and healthcare, and make it easier for foreign nationals to work, study and travel in China, the report said.

These measures are part of China's efforts to expand high-standard opening up for greater mutual benefit, as laid out in the document. They prove that China is adhering to the correct course of economic globalization and endeavoring to deeply involve itself in global industrial cooperation and division of labor.

China is more proactive in opening-up measures aimed at aligning with high-standard international economic and trade rules, amplifying the interplay between domestic and international markets and resources.

China's reform and opening up has contributed to its remarkable economic growth over the past four decades. Having entered a new development stage, China is doubling down on this approach, stressing that its high-quality economic development needs even greater openness.

Despite facing a barrage of external and internal pressures in 2023, China's foreign trade resilience outshone many other countries. The rise in exports of "the new three," namely, new energy vehicles, lithium-ion batteries and photovoltaic products, coupled with a surge in cross-border e-commerce, highlights a new growth driver in its economy.

China's high-level economic opening up includes the expansion of institutional openness, increased market access, and enhanced services for foreign investors. The establishment of 22 pilot free trade zones is a case in point, serving as a testing ground for aligning with international trade norms.

Furthermore, China's outbound investment rose steadily last year. According to the Ministry of Commerce, China's non-financial outbound direct investment (ODI) increased 16.7 percent year on year to 917 billion yuan (about 129.22 billion U.S. dollars) in 2023. Its non-financial ODI in Belt and Road partner countries came in at 224.1 billion yuan last year, an increase of 28.4 percent year on year.

This year, the country will continue to upgrade the pilot free trade zones, delegate more decision-making power to them and the Hainan Free Trade Port, and encourage development zones to engage in reform and break new ground, so as to develop themselves into new pacesetters for opening up.

Foreign investment in China remains buoyant, with reports indicating a positive long-term outlook among investors, underscoring China's allure as a premier investment destination.

In 2023, the number of newly established foreign-invested enterprises grew 39.7 percent year on year to reach 53,766 in China.

The majority of 183 companies studied are optimistic about the growth of the Chinese market, and 76 percent of them plan to reinvest in China in 2024, according to a report released by the American Chamber of Commerce in South China in late February.

The world's second-largest economy set its economic growth target at around 5 percent for 2024. Its foreign trade performance is encouraging. The country's total imports and exports of goods expanded 8.7 percent year on year in the first two months of 2024, with the volume hitting a record high over the same periods in history and the exports returning to double-digit growth.

China's opening up is in a constant process of expansion, which is certain to deliver greater benefits for itself and the world as well. 

The views don't necessarily reflect those of Qiushi Journal.