Action's more important than words in China's push for next round of reform

By Hu Weijia Source:Global Times Published: 2018/12/25 20:37:53

The Chinese government has recently submitted a draft law on foreign investment to the nation's top legislature, but a key issue is whether a lack of enforcement at the local level will take things back to square one, even if the draft wins approval soon.

Following a truce in the trade war with the US reached on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Argentina, Beijing promised some new measures to work out bilateral differences. It is understandable that Western observers have expressed concern that a lack of cooperation by some Chinese officials at the local government level may delay the process of reform. Special attention should be paid to prevent this phenomenon from happening.

Washington has set some requirements for China to end the trade war, some of which are in line with China's ongoing economic reforms. Beijing won't indiscriminately accept all of the US' demands, but it is sincere about pursuing relevant reforms and achieving a win-win result.

Among all the thorny issues in the trade and economic conflict between China and the US, intellectual property rights (IPR) protection is one of the most contentious - for both countries. China believes that IPR protection is an important part of its economic transition and technological innovation. The draft law submitted Sunday highlights provisions aiming at better protecting IPR. It seems the trade and economic conflict with the US is to some extent acting as external force for China to overcome its own tough problems and deepen its economic reforms. China will probably soon announce targeted policies, but the key is their enforcement. After all, Beijing has issued many policies to push forward economic reforms in recent decades, but not every policy has been fully implemented by local officials. This is a pervasive problem faced not only in China but also in various other countries. However, this cannot be an excuse for us to turn a blind eye to the problem.

China has begun working out its trade differences with the US. In the next year, Beijing will likely announce bolder economic and political reforms, and that means greater enforcement capability will be needed. The central government must tell local authorities to fully implement its policies to ensure that China's economic opening-up will go forward and help the country cope with trade friction with the US.

The author is a reporter with the Global Times.

Newspaper headline: Action’s more important than words when it comes to enforcing nation’s next round of reform


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