Beijing is opening its economy

The Khmer Times, 6 March 2017

The 12th National People’s Congress (NPC) kicked off yesterday at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing.
Stability and reform are the two key terms in the government report delivered by Premier Li Keqiang. It is estimated that China’s GDP growth rate will be about 6.5 percent this year.
As the second largest economic power after the United States, China’s continued growth and commitment to a liberal economic order are vital to the global economy.
As the largest trading nation in the world, China is committed to maintaining an open trading system. The US, European Union and Japan are China’s three main export markets.
A recently strained relationship between the US and China, accompanied with high uncertainty, paints a gloomy global economic and security outlook.
The world economy will fall into recession if both economic powers choose to wage a trade war.
While the US is moving towards a unilateralist and protectionist external economic policy, China is striving to maintain an open global economic order.
“China wishes to work with all interested parties to move ahead with trade and investment liberalization and establish an international economic and trade system that is balanced, inclusive and beneficial for all,” stated the 12th NPC report.
The report outlines China’s foreign economic policy as follows. First, China will be more open to the outside world with unwavering resolve.
Second, China will work to deliver concrete results of the Belt and Road Initiative. Policy consultation, institutional coordination, custom clearances and the building of international logistics networks, overland economic corridors, cross-border economic cooperation zones and maritime cooperation hubs are the key cooperation areas among the countries along the Belt and Road initiative.
China will further promote connectivity, economic and trade cooperation and cultural exchanges with countries along the Belt and Road.
“With a commitment to achieving common development and shared growth through joint consultation, we will ensure that the Belt and Road Initiative creates bonds of peace, friendship and common prosperity,” the report said.
Third, China will work to achieve greater industrial capacity cooperation with other countries through implementing fiscal, tax and financial policies, establishing an RMB overseas cooperation fund and effectively utilizing bilateral industrial capacity cooperation funds.
Fourth, China will develop innovative ways to promote foreign trade by improving the structure of export tax rebate rates, expanding cross-border e-commerce, increasing trade in services and cultural goods, supporting enterprises in developing and increasing imports of advanced technology and equipment as well as parts and components.
Other trade facilitation measures include supporting overseas warehouses to help in the export of products, promoting the development of enterprises that provide comprehensive foreign trade services and introducing a more efficient national single window system to facilitate trade.
Fifth, China will work to make better use of overseas investments through relaxing market access restrictions on investment, further liberalizing the services sector and manufacturing sector, simplifying procedures for establishing companies and improving the investment climate.
Sixth, China will accelerate implementation of the free trade zone strategy through negotiating and signing the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership agreement – a free trade agreement between Asean with other six trading partners.
China has a strong interest in accelerating the negotiation on the establishment of the China-Japan-Republic of Korea free trade area, which has been derailed due to a complex interplay between geopolitics and domestic politics.
Negotiations on investment agreements between China and the US and European Union need new momentum which is difficult at this moment. China is taking a proactive approach towards the establishing the Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific.
Lastly, China will continue to promote innovative growth and improve global economic and financial governance.

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