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Reform and opening-up will continue in China

Politics 07.03.2018 | 14:38
Photo: Xinhua
Photo: Xinhua

Beijing, 7 March (BelTA - China Daily) - Chinese Premier Li Keqiang presented the Government Work Report to the National People's Congress, China's top legislature, on the first day of its annual session on Monday, which summarized China's achievements in the last five years and laid out plans and targets for this year.

After several years of economic slowdown, China's economy began a new growth cycle last year, with its GDP growing by 6.9 percent, enterprises' profits increasing by 21 percent, and trade volumes rising by 14.2 percent.

This year marks the 40th anniversary of China's reform and opening-up, and Li announced several new reform initiatives in his speech. For international observers, perhaps the most important is China's pledge to continue reform and opening-up.

Over the last five years, China reduced two-thirds of the restrictions imposed on foreign direct investment, and shortened the negative list. Those progressive steps have been well received by business communities across the world and, as a result, foreign companies have increased their investment in China. The actual foreign direct investment last year was $136.3 billion, and the number of foreign experts increased 40 percent over the past five years.

Domestically, China will continue to intensify economic reform. One of the most significant moves would be subjecting domestic companies to the negative list. As a relic of the planned economy, administrative review and approval has long been the standard regulatory method used by the Chinese government, as it believed the entry of enterprises and their projects should be controlled in order to maintain an orderly economy.

Li has also pledged to drastically reduce the length of the negative list and promote a "one-stop" approval process in every business field. For foreign companies, he has promised to open more areas and reduce the number of restrictions. In particular, China will get rid of the ceiling set for foreign equity in banks and other financial companies, unify the entry regulations for foreign and domestic banks, and defer taxes paid on the profits invested in China. In sum, China "will strengthen its compliance of the internationally prevailing commercial rules".

In his report, Li has stressed the importance of protecting private property and providing equal rights to private companies.

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