Chinese Vice President on Domestic Economic Development, Opening-up Policy

Chinese Vice President Hu Jintao said here on Monday that opening up to the outside world is China' s basic and long-term state policy and once joining the World Trade Organization (WTO), China will earnestly fulfill its rights and obligations and play its due part in promoting economic development and trade around the world.

In a speech delivered at a banquet hosted by the China-Britain Business Council, Hu, who arrived in Britain on Sunday for an official visit, said that while taking an active part in economic globalization, China has worked hard to carry out international economic cooperation in great scope and depth.

"Our 15 years of negotiations for WTO membership are an important part of such efforts," Hu said.

The Chinese vice president also thanked the British government and the business community for their support to China in its bid to join the WTO. He told British businessmen and entrepreneurs that China is committed to opening wider to the outside world in an all-directional and multi-tiered way, with an even more active approach.

"Such sectors as finance, insurance, telecommunications, trade, commerce, transportation, construction, tourism and intermediary services will be open gradually to foreign investors," Hu said. " China will vigorously seek new ways and new channels to attract foreign capital and allow foreign investors to set up equity or contractual joint ventures or solely owned businesses in accordance with China's law and regulations."

Hu said that while making more areas gradually available for opening-up, China will adopt open, transparent and equality-based policies on trade and investment, continue to improve the environment for investment and business cooperation, encourage fair competition, offer national treatment so as to increase investor confidence and predictability in China.

On China's economic development, Hu said that China has made remarkable progress in the past few decades, particularly since the beginning of reform and opening-up over two decades ago. A socialist market economic system has been basically set up in China and an all-directional opening-up pattern has taken initial shape.

He noted that China's economy has managed to grow fairly rapidly in recent years. In 2000, China's GDP (gross domestic product) topped 1 trillion U.S. dollars, ranking sixth in the world, and its foreign trade reached 474.3 billion dollars, he said, adding that China has attracted more foreign investment than any other developing country for eight consecutive years and the Chinese people, on the whole, are now living a comparatively well- off life.

The Chinese vice president said that with continued economic and social development, the enormous potential of the Chinese market will be further tapped.

He said that in the coming five years, China will import about 1.4 trillion dollars worth of equipment and technologies, build 10, 000 kilometers of highway, increase the power generation capacity by 52,000 megawatts, and increase the recoverable reserve of crude oil by 95 million tons and that of natural gas by 37 billion cubic meters. The number of telephone subscribers will grow from 280 million to 500 million and that of Internet users to 200 million.

Hu told his audience that the promising Chinese market will offer even more business opportunities to foreign investors and that business people in Britain are most welcome to be part of China's modernization drive.

Britain is the second leg of Hu's five-nation European tour, which has already taken him to Russia. Hu will also visit France, Spain and Germany.

( Xinhua News Agency October 30, 2001)

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