China expands visa-free to 6 European countries to facilitate travel amid further opening-up
Published: Mar 07, 2024 10:59 AM
Photo: CFP

Photo: CFP

China will further implement visa-free policies for six European countries - Switzerland, Ireland, Hungary, Austria, Belgium, and Luxembourg - from March 14 in part of efforts to facilitate the travel of people between China and other countries. 

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi made the announcement on Thursday at a press conference on the sidelines of the second session of the 14th National People's Congress. 

Wang, also a member of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, said that China will continue to introduce favorable measures, including more convenient payment methods. He expressed hopes that more countries will also provide visa convenience for Chinese citizens. 

"We hope more countries will offer Chinese citizens visa facilitation, and work with us to build fast-track networks for cross-border travels and encourage speedy resumption of international passenger flights. This will make it more convenient for Chinese citizens to travel abroad, and make foreign friends feel at home in China," Wang said.

China will also organize more local visits by foreign diplomats to build bridges for local businesses to open up cooperation, Wang noted. 

China is willing to cooperate with the relevant authorities to promote the signing of more high-standard free trade agreements, expand global free trade areas, networks, and maintain the stability and smooth operation of global industrial chains, supply chains, and data chains. 

"We will also work together to host multilateral international cooperation platforms such as expos for trade in services, consumer goods, and supply chains to optimize the market-oriented, legalized, and internationalized business environment, bringing more stable and long-term benefits to investors and partners from various countries," Wang said. 

"China contributed one third of global growth in 2023 with a 5.2 percent increase in GDP. China remains strong as an engine for growth. The next China is still China," Wang said, stressing that China's development is driven not only by a reasonable growth in quantity but also an effective upgrade in quality. 

Wang cited achievements made in new industries and green transformation, steady improvement in social expectation. China's super-large market of over 1.4 billion people is expanding, with new demands and new business formats emerging explosively, rapidly expanding the space for its own development and external cooperation. 

China's door is opening wider - China's overall tariff level has been reduced to a level roughly equivalent to that of developed countries in the World Trade Organization; the negative list for foreign investment access has been reduced to below 31 items; manufacturing access has been fully opened and the opening-up of the service industry is accelerating; foreign investment returns continue to rank among the best in the world. 

"China's development is inseparable from the world, and the world's development is inseparable from China. Those who spread pessimistic views on China will only harm themselves, and those who misjudge China will result in missed opportunities," Wang noted.

Global Times