VIII. Strengthening International Cooperation in the Field of Energy
China's development cannot be achieved without cooperation with the rest of the world, and the prosperity of the world needs China as well. With accelerating economic globalization, China has forged increasingly closer ties with the outside world in the field of energy. China's development of energy has not only satisfied its own needs for economic and social progress, but also brought opportunities and tremendous space for development to the rest of the world.
China is an active participant in international energy cooperation. In multilateral cooperation, China is a member of the energy working group of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) plus China, Japan and ROK (10+3) Energy Cooperation, International Energy Forum, World Energy Conference, and Asia-Pacific Partnership for Clean Development and Climate. It is an observer of the Energy Charter, and maintains close relations with such international organizations as the World Energy Agency and the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC). Regarding bilateral cooperation, China has established a mechanism for dialogue and cooperation in the field of energy with a number of energy consuming and producing countries, such as the US, Japan and Russia, and the European Union. It has intensified dialogue and cooperation regarding energy exploration, utilization, technology and environmental protection, as well as renewable energy and new energy resources, and has had extensive dialogues and exchanges with them in such aspects as energy policy and information data. In international cooperation in the field of energy, China has not only shouldered a wide range of international obligations, but also played an active and constructive role.
China has made active efforts to improve laws and policies related to its opening-up, promulgating in succession the Law on Sino-foreign Equity Joint Ventures, Law on Sino-foreign Cooperative Joint Ventures and Law on Foreign Capital Enterprises to create a fair and open environment for foreign investment. In 2002, China formulated the Regulations for the Guidance of Foreign Investment Orientation, and revised the Catalogue of Industrial Guidance for Foreign Investment and the Catalogue of Advantageous Industries for Foreign Investment in the Central and Western Regions in 2004, in order to encourage foreign investment in the energy sector, including energy and energy-related exploitation, production, supply, transportation and energy equipment production, as well as in the energy sector of the central and western regions.
-- Improving external cooperation in the exploration and development of oil and gas resources. China has implemented a cooperative mode based on product-sharing contracts with other countries in the field of oil and gas resources. In 2001, China promulgated the revised Rules on External Cooperation for Ocean Oil Exploitation as well as Rules on External Cooperation for Onshore Oil Exploitation. China protects the legitimate rights and interests of foreign business people participating in collaborative oil exploitation. It encourages foreign business people to participate in cooperation in oil exploration and development, such as risk exploration for oil and natural gas, low-permeability oil and gas reservoirs (fields), and the improvement of the recovery rate of old oilfields. It encourages foreign investment in the construction and operation of oil and gas pipelines, as well as special oil and gas storages and port berths.
-- Encouraging foreign investment in exploration and development of unconventional energy resources. In 2000, China promulgated the Opinions on Further Encouraging Foreign Investment in Exploring and Exploiting Non-oil-and-gas Mineral Resources, further opening up its market in this regard. China allows foreign investors, either by themselves or in collaboration with Chinese counterparts, to conduct risk exploration on its territory. Foreign investors who invest in exploring and recovering paragenetic and associated minerals and utilizing tailing or exploring mineral resources in China's western regions are entitled to enjoy the preferential policy of reduction of or exemption from mineral resources compensation fees. Further efforts are being made to improve management of and services to foreign investment in the exploration and exploitation of non-oil-and-gas mineral resources.
-- Encouraging foreign investors to invest in and operate energy facilities such as power plants. China encourages foreign investment in the production and supply of electric power and gas, as well as in the construction and operation of thermal power plants with a single-generator capacity of 600,000-kw and above, power stations burning clean coal, power stations featuring heat and power cogeneration, hydropower stations mainly for electricity production, nuclear power stations in which the Chinese side holds the dominant share, as well as power stations with renewable energy or new energy resources. It encourages foreign investors to invest in technology and equipment production for thermal, hydro and nuclear power stations with a considerably large generating capacity as well as for thermal power desulphurization. It also encourages them to invest in the construction and operation of coal pipeline transportation facilities.
-- Further improving the environment for foreign investment. The Chinese government has kept its commitments to the WTO made when it joined the organization and has sorted out and rectified administrative regulations and departmental rules concerning energy management that are inconsistent with the WTO rules. In light of the demand of transparency of the WTO, China has relaxed control over the scope of geological data of a public welfare nature, strengthened the work of releasing energy policies, improved the energy data and statistics system and promptly released energy statistics, so as to ensure the openness and transparency of energy policies, statistics and information.
-- Further expanding the scope of foreign investment. In bringing in foreign investment for the development and utilization of energy resources, China pays primary attention to introducing foreign advanced technology, management experience and people of high caliber to further shifting the focus from investing in fossil energy resources to renewable resources, from emphasizing exploration and development to the development of service trade, and from relying mainly on foreign loans and direct foreign investment to directly pooling of funds at international capital market.
For a fairly long time to come, international energy trade will remain a major way by which China utilizes foreign energy resources. China will actively expand international energy trade, promote the complementary advantages of the international energy market and maintain the stability of this market. China will pursue energy imports and exports, and improve policies for fair trade in accordance with its commitments to the WTO and the WTO rules. It will, step by step, change the current situation of relying too heavily on spot trading of crude oil, encourage the signing of long-term supply contracts with foreign companies, and promote the diversification of trading channels. China supports direct overseas investment by domestic qualified enterprises to engage in transnational operation, and encourage such enterprises to participate in international energy cooperation and in the construction of overseas energy infrastructure, and steadily expand cooperation in energy engineering technology and services in accordance with international practice and the rules of the market economy.
Energy security is a global issue. Every country has the right to rationally utilize energy resources for its own development, and the overwhelming majority of countries could not enjoy energy security without international cooperation. To realize a steady and orderly development of the world economy, it is necessary to promote economic globalization to develop in a direction featuring balance, universal benefit and win-win, and it is necessary for the international community to foster a new concept of energy security characterized by mutual benefit and cooperation, diversified development and coordinated guarantee. In recent years, sharp fluctuations of oil prices on the international market have affected the development of the world economy. The causes are multiple and complex, which demands that the international community strengthen dialogue and cooperation to work out a solution together from various aspects. To safeguard world energy security, China holds that the international community should make efforts mainly in the following three aspects:
-- Intensifying mutually beneficial cooperation in energy exploration and utilization. To ensure world energy security, it is imperative to strengthen dialogue and cooperation between energy exporting countries and energy consuming countries, as well as between energy consuming countries. The international community should strengthen consultation and coordination as regards energy policies, improve the international energy market monitoring and emergency response mechanisms, promote oil and natural gas development to increase energy supply, realize globalization and diversification of energy supply, ensure stable and sustainable energy supply internationally, maintain reasonable energy prices on the international market, and ensure that each country's energy demands are well met.
-- Setting up a system to develop and popularize advanced technology. Energy conservation and diversification is a long-range plan for global energy security. The international community should strive to develop and popularize energy conservation technology, promote the comprehensive utilization of energy, and encourage each country to improve energy efficiency. It is necessary to actively advocate cooperation in highly efficient utilization of fossil fuels, such as clean coal technology, encourage cooperation of the international community in major energy technologies, such as renewable energy, hydrogen energy and nuclear energy, and explore for the establishment of a future world energy supply system using resources that are clean, economical, safe and reliable. Aiming at the sustainable development of humanity, the international community should handle well the problems concerning capital input, intellectual property rights protection and popularization of advanced technology, so as to benefit all countries and allow them to share humanity's achievements.
-- Maintaining a safe, stable and wholesome political environment. Safeguarding world peace and regional stability is the prerequisite for global energy security. The international community should work collaboratively to maintain stability in oil producing and exporting countries, especially those in the Middle East, to ensure the security of international energy transport routes and avoid geopolitical conflicts that affect the world's energy supply. The various countries should settle disputes and resolve contradictions through dialogue and consultation. Energy issues should not be politicized, and triggering antagonism as well as the use of force should be avoided.