Reform, opening up policy carries more weight in new era

Source:Xinhua Published: 2018/1/26 8:28:59

"Before reform and opening up, we worked hard on grain production for many years, but still failed to fill the bellies of the people," Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said this week.

The problem was solved after the government rolled out reform policies nationwide to contract arable land, which was previously collectively owned, to farmers in the 1980s, Li said, calling for a hands-off approach to invigorate the market.

"Today, we must continue to push reforms, take our hands off and invigorate the economy if we want to achieve high-quality development," the premier said.

As the reform and opening up policy enters its 40th year in 2018, Chinese leaders and policy documents have made clear that the policy has not fallen out of favor, but is of even greater importance in the new era of high-quality development.

"The reform and opening up policy is the very reason behind China's robust growth over the past four decades, and will remain the key driving force to high-quality development in the future," Liu He, deputy head of the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), said Wednesday at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

In the new era, China's economy has transformed from a phase of rapid growth to a stage of high-quality development, according to a key report delivered at the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC).

High-quality development will be the "general requirement" for China's macroeconomic, structural and social policies in the next few years, Liu said.

The country should also take supply-side structural reform as a main task and win "the three tough battles," namely preventing and defusing major risks, targeted poverty alleviation, and tackling pollution, he added.

"To attain those goals, China has to advance reform and open up at a faster pace," Liu said.

China will continue to let the market play a decisive role in the allocation of resources, and must focus on better protection of property rights, especially intellectual property rights, he said.

Efforts should also be made to fully incent entrepreneurs, encourage competition and oppose monopolies, and continue to improve the mechanisms for macroeconomic regulation, Liu said.

Fan Hengshan, NDRC deputy secretary-general, also said that reform and opening up will help the country stimulate market vitality.

The report for the 19th CPC National Congress made clear that China will make new progress in opening up on all fronts, pointing out that "China will not close its door to the world, but will only become more and more open."

The Central Economic Work Conference last month listed "pushing forward a new pattern of all-around opening up" as one of the priorities for attaining high-quality development this year and beyond.

Opening up measures will include relaxing market access, shortening the negative list for foreign investment, and seeking balanced trade by importing more and cutting import tariffs on some products, said a statement following the conference.

"We will further integrate with international trade rules and ease market access. We will also substantially open up the service sector, especially the financial sector, and create a more attractive investment environment," Liu said.

The Chinese government will also encourage both inbound and outbound investment and business activities, as it seeks greater economic and trade interactions with other countries and works with them toward an open world economy, he added.

Since reform and opening up, the Chinese economy has expanded much faster than the rest of the world. China's economy grew at an average annual rate of 9.8 percent between 1979 and 2012, dwarfing the global growth of 2.8 percent in the same period.

After 2012, the country showed greater tolerance for lower growth rates in pursuit of better structure, quality and efficiency. It lowered the annual GDP growth target from 7.5 percent for 2012-2014 to 6.5 percent last year.

China's GDP expanded 6.9 percent in 2017, picking up for the first time in seven years.

Posted in: POLITICS

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