CPPCC Members Call for WTO-Oriented Reforms

Members of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) National Committee have called for reforms in government role, investment policies and other areas to help the country survive and benefit from accelerating economic globalization.

Many members of the country's top advisory body, in session since March 3, pointed out that almost all aspects of the Chinese society will be affected by the country's approaching accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO).

But the greatest challenge will be for the government to change its role, the CPPCC members said.

Wang Wenyuan, vice-chairman of the CPPCC National Committee, said governments at all levels must be ready to reform their working style from now on.

They should change the focus of their work from compulsory administrative interference to providing services and exercising supervision, do what they should do and refrain from what they should not, he said.

Economic globalization has led to major adjustments in the development strategy of multinationals, which will pose a severe challenge to China's efforts to attract foreign investment.

Wang Linsheng, a professor with the University of Foreign Trade and Economic Co-operation, said China should change its policies to attract more long- and medium-term foreign investment in the form of acquisitions, mergers, investment funds and stock investment.

The country should explore and strengthen its advantages in research and development to encourage more multinationals to set up research and development centers in China.

It should also further advance reforms to benefit from the localization strategies of multinationals, said Wang.

Many CPPCC members noted that in upholding its opening policies, China should not only allow in foreign investment and technologies, but also go out to invest overseas so that it will better integrate with the global economy.

Many of them share the view that medium and small-sized businesses could play an important role in China's "going out" strategy.

Niu Shouzhang, president of the Zhejiang Federation of Industry and Commerce, an organization of non-state-owned businesses, said medium and small-sized businesses, which have a diversified ownership structure, should enjoy obvious advantages in the "going out" strategy.

Moreover, for these businesses, a development strategy with a global view will be the only way to prosperity, Niu said.

Guo Guangchang, manager of the Shanghai Fuxing High-Tech Group, urged the government to remove industrial barriers for private businesses and open more industries to them.

Guo Yanjie, chairman of the CPPCC Liaoning Provincial Committee, warned that WTO membership will lead to changes in China's trade environment and bring a strong shock to its transitional economy.

He called for working out an economic security strategy to deal with the security of commodity trade, the security of the capital market and the security of the Internet economy.

CPPCC National Committee member Zhou Jinfeng claimed that China's backward credit management system will seriously affect the competitiveness of Chinese enterprises after WTO accession, and advocated the improvement of the system as soon as possible.

(People’s Daily 03/12/2001)