EUCCC welcomes China’s govt work report

Source:Global Times Published: 2018/3/14 22:23:40

Opening-up, competition will benefit domestic sectors

Mats Harborn Photo: Courtesy of the European Union Chamber of Commerce in China

Editor's Note:

The Government Work Report that Chinese Premier Li Keqiang delivered at the opening meeting of the ongoing 13th National People's Congress, which echoed many of the themes expressed by the Chinese government throughout 2017, was welcomed by the European business community and will provide stimulus for the country's sustainable economic growth this year, an official of the EU business lobby in China said on Wednesday.

The EU business community has long called for increased market access, balanced trade and better investment relations, all of which are featured in the work report, Mats Harborn, president of the European Union Chamber of Commerce in China (EUCCC), told the Global Times.

"It is essential that these words can be translated to concrete actions as soon as possible, and this is particularly crucial in light of the growing international trade tensions," he said.

Last year, China's economy grew 6.9 percent year-on-year, the fastest since 2015 and also faster than the EUCCC expected. Such growth momentum "can be partly attributed to not only very strong private consumption, but also an ongoing upgrading of supply chains," Harborn said, while also taking note of the enforcement of stricter environmental standards in 2017.

In the work report, Li stressed that China will strengthen environmental protection with "unprecedented determination" and renewed efforts.

"If such enforcement continues across the board, it can pave the way for a level playing field and a more sustainable development model," Harborn commented.

Harborn (Harborn) also talked with Global Times reporter Li Xuanmin (GT), further sharing his views on China's economy in 2018 and the role of the country's opening-up in boosting domestic enterprises.

GT: What is your opinion of China's economy in 2018? 

Harborn: If there are no major consequences from the potential global trade war, it seems that the momentum of the Chinese economy can be maintained and China can achieve its target of a 6.5 percent growth rate this year. China needs a strong and healthy economy as a foundation for realizing the transformation of its society as a whole.

GT: What do you think of the measures listed in the Government Work Report, such as further opening of the country's financial and telecom sectors to Chinese and European companies?

Harborn: It is very wise to try to increase the involvement of foreign banks in the Chinese banking sector, as competition will improve the performance of Chinese banks. However, foreign banks used to have a small market share and operated in an over-regulated environment, which means it will be difficult for them to grow in China.

There are other sectors that would benefit from real competition, but opening-up is currently happening. The question is whether a lack of competition may hurt the Chinese economy? If competition is restricted, there is a real risk that Chinese companies will simply not develop as strongly as the Chinese economy now needs them to. So we expect more reform and opening-up, and we are also expecting real and ambitious timelines.

Posted in: ECONOMY

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