Opening-up and cooperation are significant driving forces for enhancing the vitality of international economic and trade activities. Against the backdrop that economic globalization is blocked while trade protectionism and unilateralism are on the rise, China remains a supporter and vindicator of opening-up and cooperation between countries.
Since 2010, China has been the world’s second largest importer, with the largest number of imported goods through cross-border e-commerce, and the largest contributor to global services growth. In the face of the infinite business opportunities on the Chinese market, the number of companies that want to expand their exports to China and those who want to settle in China are constantly increasing. In 2018, titans such as Tesla, General Electric, Honeywell, BASF, and BMW invested in setting up factories or expanding production in China.
During the recently concluded Two Sessions, China enacted legislations on foreign investment, which adopts a pre-establishment national treatment plus negative list system for foreign-funded enterprises, and interfaces with international norms. Meanwhile, it also stipulates that foreign-invested enterprises are entitled to a series of fair market competition policies such as those on participation in standard setting, participation in government procurement, and access to financing facilities on an equal basis with domestic enterprises. In addition, in the aspects of protection of property rights, expropriation compensation as well as filing complaints on rights protection, rights and interests of foreign businesses have been further guaranteed to enhance investor confidence.
On this basis, the Chinese government this year will further reduce taxes and fees for domestic and foreign-funded enterprises, and reduce their operating costs by reducing value-added tax and social security costs. According to the World Bank, China’s number of reforms to improve the business environment for small and medium-sized enterprises in 2018 set a record, and its global ranking advanced by more than 30 places. China’s reforms in related fields were amazingly fast and effective, and enabled it to become one of the economies with the greatest improvement in the business environment.
Scientific and technological innovation has become a vital support and leading force in China’s modernization process. The business opportunities are also attractive to foreign investors. The new Foreign Investment Law protects foreign technology and stipulates that the conditions for technical cooperation shall be determined through negotiation between the parties to the investment, and no administrative means can be used to force the transfer of technology.
In 2018, China was the destination of US $138.3 billion foreign investment, ranking first among developing countries for 27 consecutive years. Spurred by the promulgation of the Foreign Investment Law, the sum of foreign capital entering China is expected to set a new record high.
In November 2018, the first China International Import Expo (CIIE) won speedy success with a cumulative amount of US $57.83 billion in deals and transactions intended to be executed. Now, the preparation of the second CIIE has been put in full swing. By the end of February, the contracted exhibition area for enterprises had exceeded 150,000 square meters. Different from the first CIIE, the second will set up a 10,000-square-meter high-end consumer goods zone to open up the world’s fastest-growing luxury consumption market to international providers, connecting exhibitors to Chinese consumers.
In late April, Beijing will also host the second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation, which will be attended by thousands of representatives from more than 100 countries. The open and cooperative platform has become a popular public product without geopolitical objectives. In the past six years, the Belt and Road construction has entered the fast lane, leading China onto the road of high-quality development with many countries in the world.
China’s development has benefitted from opening-up, and China’s opening-up has also promoted economic globalization and benefitted people around the world.