CGTN: China deepens reform and opening up, appeals to global investors

BEIJING, March 29, 2024– The opening ceremony of the Boao Forum for Asia (BFA) Annual Conference 2024 was held in Boao, south China’s Hainan Province on Thursday, with China’s top legislator Zhao Leji stressing China’s economic potential, appealing to international investors and calling for Asia solidarity and cooperation for regional prosperity in his keynote speech.

Zhao, chairman of the National People’s Congress Standing Committee, highlighted that China is pursuing a path of high-quality development and is deepening reform and opening up, which he said will provide great development opportunities for Asia and the world.

‘Investing in China is investing in the future’

China has set an economic growth target of around five percent for 2024 and the country’s GDP grew by 5.2 percent last year, one of the highest among major economies. The Chinese economy has accounted for about one-third of global growth, and the International Monetary Fund last year projected that a 1 percentage point increase in GDP growth in China will lead to a 0.3 percentage point increase in other Asian economies.

To transform its economy and achieve sustainable development, China now is deepening reforms. For example, China has pledged to further shorten the negative list for foreign investment, remove all restrictions on foreign investment access in the manufacturing sector, and deliver national treatment for foreign businesses.

On March 22, the Chinese Commerce Ministry rolled out the first negative list for cross-border trade in service sectors at the national level, in which sectors that are not listed are, by default, open to foreign service suppliers under the same conditions as for domestic service suppliers, a major step for China’s further opening up.

China also promised to peak carbon dioxide emissions before 2030 and achieve carbon neutrality before 2060. Official data shows that China’s installed solar capacity accounted for nearly half of the world’s, the number of new energy vehicles (NEVs) registered in China accounts for over half of the world’s and at least 25 percent of the foliage expansion since the early 2000s globally came from China. Zhao said China’s green and low-carbon development is expected to nurture a 10-trillion-yuan (about $1.4 trillion) market for investment and consumption each year.

In addition, new drivers of China’s economy resulting from tech innovation are also growing fast. At the just concluded China Development Forum, Chinese Premier Li Qiang said the added value of China’s strategic emerging industries increased from 7.6 percent of GDP 10 years ago to more than 13 percent last year, the scale of China’s digital economy has exceeded 50 trillion yuan, and China has as many as 24 of the world’s top 100 sci-tech innovation clusters.

“The potential of China’s supersized market with over 1.4 billion people will be further unlocked,” said Zhao. “Investing in China is investing in the future.”

Cooperation is vital for global prosperity

Zhao also expressed optimism for Asia’s development at the forum, saying it’s the “most dynamic and promising” region in the world, but he warned that protectionism and a cold-war mindset are undercutting some countries’ efforts for development and pushing the world toward division and confrontation.

A report published by BFA Academy on Tuesday predicted that the Asian economy will sustain a strong growth rate in 2024, accounting for 49 percent of the world’s GDP, and its growth rate is expected to reach 4.5 percent.

Although the growth of Asia may face pressures from a global economic slowdown, geopolitical conflict, and other factors, positive factors including accelerated digital trade, recovery of tourism, and advancements of regional economic integration such as the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership will add new impetus to Asian trade and investment, the report predicted.

Zhao stressed that peace is a prerequisite for Asia’s development in the face of intertwined and complex global security threats. He called on Asian nations to stay united, jointly stand against unilateralism and extreme egotism, oppose confrontation between different camps, and prevent the region and the world from becoming an arena for geopolitical fighting.

During the 2022 Boao Forum, China proposed the Global Security Initiative, promoting the vision of common, comprehensive, cooperative, and sustainable security. In 2021, China proposed the Global Development Initiative, which promotes globalization, multilateralism, and free trade, aiming to build a just, equitable, open, and inclusive world.

“No country can develop itself behind closed doors,” said Zhao, adding “We must oppose trade protectionism and all forms of erecting barriers, decoupling or severing supply chains, but instead share opportunities in opening up and seek win-win outcomes through cooperation.”

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