While China opens its doors wider to the world, the US slams their’s shut

By Wen Sheng Source:Global Times Published: 2019/1/31 20:58:41

Illustration: Luo Xuan/GT

Since 1978, the road map for consistent opening-up to foreign countries has advanced China's global integration while infusing significant forces to revive China's economy. 

Today, in the face of rising US trade and investment protectionism, the Chinese government should have the audacity to spearhead economic globalization by opening its doors even wider to foreign businesses.

In theory, economic opening-up and integration typically leads to improved availability and wider selection of quality goods and services, reduction of commodity and service prices, and marked efficiency gains to create greater purchasing power and prosperity. 

Starting from scratch, many industrial lines - from initial mineral mining to making clothes, shoes and paving roads, to fine tools and auto manufacturing, and later the high-speed railways and high-end telecom gears and electronic devices, all have emerged throughout the country. This massive eye-popping achievement would not have been possible without the foresight of China's leaders.

At the beginning of the year, when Beijing authorities began to open two crucial economic sectors, finance and telecommunications, to major foreign businesses, Chinese economists and market watchers gave the move a thumbs-up for the continued brave efforts in opening-up and reform. 

Only through free market and full-fledged competition can monopolies be abolished, giving Chinese consumers the ability to gain a wider choice of products and services at lower prices.

Recently, UK-based British Telecommunications (BT), the largest mobile provider in Britain, announced it had received two licenses from China's Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT), a China nationwide domestic IP-VPN license, and a nationwide ISP license. The licenses enable BT China Communications to contract directly with customers in China and bill them in local Chinese currency. 

In a statement, BT said the two licenses represent a company milestone, and will allow them to meet multinational consumer demands for secure and reliable connectivity in the Chinese market. 

BT's confidence in leaving their footprint in China has risen, although it will face uphill competition from the three state-owned telecom heavyweights China Mobile, China Telecom, and China Unicom. 

On January 28, US rating giant S&P Global gained approval from China's central bank to conduct its credit rating business in the country, marking another opening-up milestone in the financial market. As many Chinese enterprises need to raise funds by selling bonds, S&P is expected to receive a multitude of lucrative business from China-based companies. 

The move will also benefit China's financial industry, as global regulatory standards on credit ratings and corporate debt oversight will be introduced. The expertise of international rating agencies would help meet investors' demand for yuan-denominated assets and improve ratings in China, the central bank said. 

Last year, a Chinese regulator gave German insurer Allianz a license to set up a wholly-owned insurance holding company in Shanghai. 

The Chinese government, according to market watchers, has fulfilled earlier pledges that it will resolutely adhere to the set policy of opening-up and reform, despite the strong headwinds of economic protectionism blowing from the other side of the Pacific Ocean. 

At a press conference in Beijing last week, Meng Wei, a spokesperson with the National Development and Reform Commission, expressed the government's stance to broaden market access to foreign investors in agriculture, manufacturing, education, medical care and services, and expand areas in which foreign companies can operate independently. It expects to see more foreign companies enter China in 2019. 

Simultaneously, the government will continue to promote its Belt and Road initiative and integrate the world's second-largest economy with more developing countries in Asia, Africa, Europe, and Latin America. 

As the world's largest economy protects itself from outside competition by raising tariffs and erecting border walls, China has embraced globalization by removing investment and trade barriers while ratcheting up infrastructure investment in developing countries so that others can benefit and emerge from poverty. What a contrast! 

The author is an editor with the Global Times. bizopinion@globaltimes.com.cn

Posted in: INSIDER'S EYE

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