China makes strides in building a unified market; move a boon for foreign businesses
Move to boost growth, offer more opportunities for foreign firms: experts
Published: Jun 05, 2023 09:31 PM
Lujiazui area in Shanghai Photo:Xinhua

Lujiazui area in Shanghai Photo:Xinhua

Chinese officials said on Monday that China has achieved positive initial results in building a unified national market, and they vowed to further carry out the crucial strategy, which aims to root out local protectionism and give full play to the massive domestic market to boost growth, amid an increasingly complex global economic landscape.

The move is crucial to expanding domestic demand by eliminating restrictions and cutting costs for businesses so as to bolster the country's ability to fend off rising external economic risks, while also providing a better environment and greater opportunities for foreign businesses, experts noted. 

"With the joint efforts of all parties, the construction of a unified national market has achieved initial results," Li Chunlin, vice chairman of the National Development and Reform Commission, China's top economic planner, told a press conference on Monday, declaring progress in various areas. 

According to Li, various localities have moved to conduct self-examination and clean-up of policy measures, and they abolished, revised or corrected policies that might have hindered the unified market and fair competition. 

Also, a number of supporting policies have been introduced in terms of improving property rights, market access, fair competition, credit and other areas.

China first announced a guideline on building a unified national market in April 2022, in a bid to accelerate the construction of a unified domestic market with greater efficiency, high standards, fair competition and full openness. 

On May 19, 2023 an executive meeting of the State Council, China's cabinet, deliberated on an overall work plan and other recent measures to build a unified national market. The meeting specifically called for a targeted campaign to tackle prominent problems such as local protectionism and market fragmentation in key areas.

"Eliminating local protectionism and administrative monopolies is the key task and key measure to accelerate the construction of a unified national market," Zhu Jianqiao, an official with the State Administration for Market Regulation, told the press conference on Monday.

"The domestic economic recovery requires an expansion of domestic demand, as external demand is at risk of falling due to stagflation in developed countries. Expanding domestic demand requires increasing consumer income on the one hand, and reducing transaction costs on the other to promote more transactions," Hu Qimu, deputy secretary general of the digital real economies integration Forum 50, told the Global Times on Monday. 

Hu noted that the greatest significance of building a unified national market is to reduce transaction costs for businesses so as to unleash greater consumption vitality and help the country better counter rising external risks. 

"Other countries have been setting up trade barriers, pursuing 'economic decoupling' and disrupting supply chains. We cannot decide on what other countries import from us, but we can decide how to allow high-quality overseas resources to flow into China without barriers," Hu said. 

As part of the strategy to build a unified national market, Chinese officials are moving to further expand market access and improve the climate for foreign businesses. 

"The unified national market we are building is one fully open to the world, which will surely provide a better environment and a bigger stage for various market players, including foreign-funded enterprises," Zhou Qiang, an official from the Ministry of Commerce, told the press conference on Monday. 

In order to attract and utilize foreign capital with greater efforts, China will further expand market access by further removing or relaxing restrictions on foreign investment, fully promote investment opportunities and the vast potential of the Chinese market, and improve services for foreign businesses, Zhou said. 

There has been no shortage of slander in foreign media outlets against the Chinese economy and the condition of foreign businesses in China, but the crucial thing foreign media and anti-China forces have always ignored is the vast potential of the Chinese domestic market with 1.4 billion people and its continuous opening-up to foreign businesses, said Bai Ming, researcher at the Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation.

"When the full potential of domestic demand is unleashed and the business environment is greatly improved, foreign businesses will only see even greater opportunities in the Chinese market," Bai told the Global Times on Monday.