Free Trade Zones

Alignment with high-level global trade rules highlighted

Maersk Sofia, a container ship currently sailing under the flag of Singapore, docks at the Dapukou Container Terminal of Ningbo Zhoushan Port in Zhejiang province on February 2. (Photo by YAO FENG/FOR CHINA DAILY)

China is likely to take a more proactive approach to aligning itself with high-level international economic and trade rules, as well as making more contributions to the formation of new international economic rules that reflect China’s experiences, according to experts and business leaders.

Such efforts will not only expand market entry, but also enhance fair competition, contribute to high-level global economic and trade cooperation, and facilitate global economic recovery, they said.

They made the remarks as the push to open up the country into the future is expected to be a hot topic during the next two sessions, which are the annual meetings of the National People’s Congress and the National Committee of the Political Consultative Conference of the Chinese people.

“As the domestic and international situation evolves, China needs to accelerate alignment with high-level international economic and trade rules, to establish a more transparent, fair and predictable business environment that levels the playing field for all market entities,” said Huo Jianguo, vice president of the China Society for World Trade Organization Studies.

Huo said more breakthroughs are needed to achieve this goal, especially in abolishing practices inconsistent with improving the business climate and promoting institutional innovations that meet high-level international standards but also meet to China‘s needs.

Lan Qingxin, a professor at the China Academy of Open Economy Studies at the University of International Business and Economics, said China should expand market entry for foreign investors in the technology sector. services, publish a national negative list for trade in services, and further open up the financial sector.

The country will also likely play a more active role in shaping new international low-carbon rules and promoting global economic governance reforms, said Lan, who is also president of the China Trade Institute. the Yangtze River Delta region of the UIBE.

Zhou Mi, a senior fellow at the China Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation, said China is likely to speed up its experiments in pilot free trade zones and explore new rules in areas such as the digital economy. and high-level infrastructure interconnection.

Bai Wenxi, chief economist at IPG China, expects China to improve national treatment for foreign investors, reduce restrictions on foreign ownership and enhance the role of free zones as opening platforms.

Zheng Lei, chief economist of the Glory Sun Financial Group, suggested that China strengthen its trade and investment ties with developing countries and advance the construction of the Belt and Road Initiative, while taking advantage of the proximity between the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region and Shenzhen, Guangdong Province, experiment with institutional reforms and innovations taking into account the practices of developed countries in the Shenzhen Special Economic Zone, before replicating these experiences elsewhere.

According to Enda Ryan, global senior vice president of British multinational Reckitt Group, the Chinese government’s determination to step up reform and opening-up is evident, which encourages provincial governments to continue improving policies and services for investors. foreign, and even some instructive information competition between provinces.

“I look forward to measures to promote international mutual acceptance of R&D data, product registration and reviews of imported products in the next two sessions,” he said.

However, analysts have pointed out that expanding opening-up does not just mean adopting foreign rules, regulations and standards without considering China’s specific stage of development and economic reality.

“The ultimate goal of openness is to better allocate resources to create more development dividends for businesses and people at home and abroad, and a rush to open up will only lead to a waste of resources and environmental damage,” said Zhou of CAITEC.