Four decades of reform and opening-up provide world with economic locomotive

Xinhua
The achievements China made through reform and opening-up show that the country has successfully driven economic globalization.
Xinhua

THIS year marks the 40th anniversary of China’s reform and opening-up. The policy not only brings China rapid and sustainable development, but also enables the country to have contributed more to the global economy.

Over the past 40 years, China’s GDP has averaged an annual growth rate of around 9.5 percent in comparable prices.

“China’s reform and opening-up meets its people’s aspiration for development, innovation and a better life. It also meets the global trend toward development, cooperation and peace,” Chinese President Xi Jinping said in a keynote speech at the opening ceremony of the Boao Forum for Asia Annual Conference.

Before heading for China to attend this year’s BFA, United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said the achievements China made through reform and opening-up show that the country has successfully driven economic globalization. He stressed that China’s economic development would remarkably propel the global economy.

Every year, the BFA is expected to gather thousands of participants from around the world to offer advice on cooperation, development and prosperity.

So far, it’s widely acknowledged that China’s comprehensive and deepening reform and opening-up has provided the world with a major economic locomotive, as it has given fresh impetus to the global economy through a set of pragmatic programs, of which the most representative one is the Belt and Road Initiative.

“It is very well-timed to propose opening-up and innovation as key words (in the BFA) given Asia now is leading the world economy,” said Kim Young-ju, chairman of the Korean International Trade Association, in a recent interview with Xinhua.

Kim said China has helped build the world economic order and global governance by creating an economic model of reform and opening-up. He expressed the hope that China would contribute to further global growth by deepening its reform and opening-up.

He noted that the economic model China has devised is represented by the BRI and the establishment of the Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank to support the initiative.

More opportunities

The “BRI’s format follows that used in China’s development,” according to a pre-conference report jointly composed by the BFA and Deloitte, a UK-incorporated multinational accounting and consulting firm. The “BRI’s initial focus was on energy and infrastructure; it is now widening to trade, manufacturing, the Internet and tourism,” said the report. “Multinational corporations with competitive advantages are winning BRI-related deals, and we predict more will do so in the near future,” the report noted.

To date, more than 40 Asian countries have joined the BRI, and some have dovetailed their national development strategies with the initiative.

In 2017, China’s trade volume with BRI countries grew by 14.8 percent year on year, reaching US$1.18 trillion, according to latest statistics from China’s Ministry of Commerce.

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte hailed the connection set up through the BRI between China and his country as “a symbol of intensifying China-Dutch relations.” Rutte noted that Dutch companies have been keenly interested in the BRI, especially since it involves enormous investment in infrastructure.

Dutch advantage

“This is where Dutch companies can assist China with their strong expertise in fields like maritime logistics and port development, as well as rail and road construction and sustainability,” he told Xinhua.

Last month, the first direct train connecting Amsterdam and Yiwu City in eastern China under the Belt and Road framework left the Dutch capital for the Chinese trading hub. A direct rail service linking Rotterdam and Tilburg in the Netherlands and Chengdu in southwest China has been in operation for nearly two years.

Gamal Bayoumi, head of the Cairo-based Arab Investors Union, also hailed China as a significant stabilizer in global trade, especially for developing countries. “We encourage this role and we hope that China’s economic growth rate remains high because it benefits the economies of many developing states,” Bayoumi told Xinhua recently.

As the largest emerging economy, China kept a medium-high economic growth rate of 6.9 percent in 2017, contributing approximately one third of global economic growth and continuously acting as the largest contributor to the global economy, according to a report released at a press conference of the BFA annual conference on Sunday.

In doing so, China has vowed to further open its economy with concrete measures to promote the common prosperity of China and the world.

China will improve the investment environment for foreign investors, significantly lower the import tariffs for vehicles and reduce import tariffs for some other products this year, Xi said in his keynote speech.

“We will take the initiative to expand imports,” Xi said. “We have a genuine desire to increase imports and achieve greater balance of international payments under the current account.”

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