Sun, 22 May 2022

© Provided by Xinhua

BEIJING, Jan. 22 (Xinhua) -- China's commitment to pursuing high-level opening-up will allow the world to enjoy its development dividends at a time when protectionism and unilateralism arise in the COVID-19 pandemic.

"Openness and cooperation are key to pandemic control and the world's post-pandemic economic recovery," said Commerce Minister Wang Wentao in a written article published by Qiushi Journal, a flagship magazine of the Communist Party of China Central Committee.

China has vowed to expand high-quality and institutional opening-up and detailed a slew of measures in the tone-setting Central Economic Work Conference in December last year, which are expected to bring more opportunities for other countries while accelerating its own development.

Why is China committed to advancing high-level opening-up? How will the country achieve its goals? Here are some explanations.

-- Why is high-level opening-up significant?

Promoting high-level opening-up can both expand the room for China's development and give a shot in the arm to the global economic recovery, Wang said.

China proposed the dual circulation development paradigm, in which domestic and overseas markets reinforce each other, with the domestic market as the mainstay, in May 2020.

Pushing high-level opening-up is an inevitable choice for building the development paradigm, which has been mentioned as a guiding thought to sustain growth.

Wider opening-up can introduce high-end production factors and scarce resources, propelling technological progress.

In the first 11 months of last year, China's imports of advanced technological products reached around 4.9 trillion yuan (about 771.75 billion U.S. dollars), up 15.1 percent year on year.

The country's efforts to open its door wider can help with fulfilling people's expectations of living a better life and upgrading domestic consumption.

Opening-up has accelerated China's new industrialization and urbanization, created new jobs and improved residents' incomes.

Wang said a closed domestic loop will make China's economy a "monocycle," while high-level opening-up, on the other hand, can lead to a higher-level equilibrium of the Chinese economy.

He also noted that economic globalization is an irreversible historical trend and "decoupling" goes against market rules, pledging that China will contribute to building an open world economy, making the pie of the international market bigger.

-- What are China's advantages to achieve high-level opening-up?

High-level opening-up requires a solid economic foundation, and the recent Central Economic Work Conference highlighted the country's strong economic resilience and unchanged fundamentals underpinning long-term growth.

With a population of over 1.4 billion and a middle-income group of more than 400 million people, China's super-large scale market is one of the scarcest resources in contemporary world.

The country has become the world's second-largest consumer market, with its retail sales of consumer goods increasing 12.5 percent year on year to 44.08 trillion yuan in 2021.

It plays a crucial role in the global industrial chain, as it has the world's most complete industrial system.

In 2021, the country's value-added industrial output went up 9.6 percent year on year, bringing the average growth rate in the past two years to 6.1 percent.

The perseverance of accelerating independent innovation and nurturing new growth drivers also contributes to foreign businesses' expanding footprint in China.

The country rose to 12th on the Global Innovation Index 2021 released by the World Intellectual Property Organization, remaining the only middle-income economy to rank in the top 30.

-- How will China walk the talk?

Knowing too well that opening-up is the right path, China has quickened the pace and made plans in multiple fields.

Chinese authorities unveiled two shortened negative lists for foreign investment, both of which took effect on Jan. 1, 2022.

Off-limit items for foreign investors have been cut to 31 in the 2021 version of the negative list from 33 in the 2020 version, while the 2021 negative list for foreign investment in pilot free-trade zones cut the number of items to 27 from 30.

The Chinese government has pledged to continue to improve services for foreign-funded firms and projects and foster a market-oriented, law-based and internationalized business environment in 2022.

The country will give full play to various expos such as the China International Import Expo, the China Import and Export Fair and the China International Fair for Trade in Services, to share the country's huge market with the rest of the world.

It will also advance infrastructure connectivity with other countries, like supporting the development of China-Europe freight train services and building new international trade channels.

In the global arena, China will closely engage in global economic governance and play an active role in international cooperation mechanisms, contributing more Chinese wisdom to protecting free trade.

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