Participants of the 89th International Forum on China Reform interact on Saturday before the opening of the two-day event in Haikou, Hainan province. (Photo by Wang Zhuangfei / China Daily)
Forum:Higher standard of opening-up emphasized
China should scale up efforts to comprehensively deepen reform and opening-up as a crucial step to anchor market expectations, boost business confidence and unleash the country's economic growth potential, amid shifting international dynamics and increasing pressure on the domestic economy, observers said.
They made their remarks during the 89th International Forum on China Reform, which took place on Saturday and Sunday in Haikou, Hainan province. The two-day gathering was jointly held by the China Institute for Reform and Development, China Daily and the China Public Diplomacy Association.
Reform remains the key to addressing development-related issues, and breakthroughs in deepening reform should be made to anchor development expectations, said Chi Fulin, president of the China Institute for Reform and Development.
The weakening global economy, together with fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic, has imposed great pressure on domestic growth, dampening investor and entrepreneurial confidence in investment. Reform aimed at regulatory liberalization and provision of better services from relevant government agencies is seen as a necessary move to boost the morale of market players.
Efforts should be intensified, with a special focus on optimizing government regulatory practices, to foster a more enabling business climate, Chi said, adding that practical initiatives to deepen market-oriented reforms should be leveraged to invigorate the vitality of market players.
Noting that reform and development are best achieved through openness, Chi said that high-standard opening-up should serve as a major catalyst for deepening reform. Furthermore, institutional opening-up should be tapped to advance institutional reform at greater depth, and unilateral opening-up should be employed to foster significant advancements in free trade.
In recent years, the rising tide of protectionism and anti-globalization in some countries, especially developed nations, has led to their adoption of restrictive trade and investment measures, casting doubt on the prospects of an open global economy.
Against that backdrop, China's stance has become crucial, as it is the world's second-largest economy and the largest contributor to world economic growth, accounting for about 30 percent of annual global growth.
China's top leadership has emphasized on many occasions that the country's door of opening-up will not be closed and will only become wider. Delegates to the 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China in October 2022 agreed to advance high-standard opening-up as part of the nation's efforts to pursue high-quality development.
Hainan, China's only free trade port, aims to push forward high-standard institutional opening-up. The island province will make full use of favorable policies, location advantage and ecological edge to foster a world-class and law-based business climate, said Liu Xiaoming, governor of Hainan. This will enable greater facilitation of free trade and provide more opportunities and better services for investors around the globe, Liu added.
Sun Shangwu, deputy editor-in-chief of China Daily, noted that the world still faces rising protectionism, unilateralism and hegemonism, while decoupling, supply chain disruption and de-risking remain prevalent. Some countries have even engaged in building "a small yard with high fences" and creating small, exclusive cliques to stem China's development and impede the progress of mankind, he added.
Despite these headwinds, China should resolutely deepen its reform and opening-up to the outside world at a higher standard, sharing massive opportunities with other countries and realizing win-win cooperation and common development, Sun said.
Wu Hailong, president of the China Public Diplomacy Association, said that China should by no means simply replicate the opening-up steps adopted in the past several decades. Instead, the country should promote its opening-up to a higher level with better quality, and on a bigger scale with greater depth, Wu said.