The Belt and Road section during an expo in Nanning, Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region. (ZHOU HUA/XINHUA)
China is expected to expand imports from countries and regions involved in the Belt and Road Initiative as part of its broader push for high-standard opening-up, according to a political adviser.
Zhang Yuyan, a member of the 14th National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, made the remarks during an exclusive interview with China Daily.
"Considering the current international situation, it is important for China to open up its market wider to the economies participating in the Belt and Road Initiative, apart from strengthening outbound investment into those economies in sectors like infrastructure construction," said Zhang, who is also director of the Institute of World Economics and Politics at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.
"Expanding imports from countries and regions participating in the BRI is quite essential for the (high-quality development) of the initiative," Zhang added.
Proposed by China, the BRI has made substantial progress since it was put forward in 2013, injecting new growth impetus into the global economy.
The Government Work Report submitted to the National People's Congress for deliberation on Sunday said two-way trade between China and other BRI countries increased at an annual rate of 13.4 percent over the past five years, and exchanges and cooperation between China and these countries registered steady progress in a wide range of areas.
Over the past five years, China has remained committed to achieving shared growth through dialogue and collaboration, observed market principles and international rules, and carried out a number of projects to boost connectivity and industrial capacity cooperation, according to the report.
Zhang said China is expected to expand market access for products from the economies participating in the BRI through multiple measures, which he suggested may include lowering tariffs or even granting zero tariff treatment for some products, reducing non-tariff market barriers and revising related import quota systems.
The BRI has attracted the participation of over three-fourths of countries in the world and 32 international organizations, according to Foreign Minister Qin Gang.
"Greater competition in the domestic market introduced by such increases in market openness will give better play to the decisive role of the market in resource allocation, as well as the functions of the government," Zhang said.
"Under current circumstances, China must focus on its own agendas and remain committed to deepening reform and expanding high-level opening-up," he added.
As China advances institutional opening-up, the country's investment environment will continue to improve and its protection of intellectual property rights will be strengthened, and that will make the country more attractive to foreign investors seeking better development, especially funds flowing into high-end industries, he said.