​Eight observations of Xi's Boao Forum speech

By George N. Tzogopoulos
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail China.org.cn, April 13, 2018
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The 2018 Boao Forum saw Xi Jinping deliver his third address at the multi-level regional cooperation network in his capacity as President of China. The personal support and appreciation he offers to the Forum are adding to its prestige and international impact.

More importantly, they are connected to the emphasis he generally attributes to all initiatives fostering dialogue and closer cooperation not only in Asia but also in other regions of the world. Looking closely at the content of Xi's speech in the Boao Forum, there are eight observations which may help provide an interpretation.

First, China is continuing and enhancing its policy of reform and opening up. Forty years after its launch, the country's achievements are well acknowledged and expectations for the future are increasing. That is why Xi announced measures for the improvement of the investment environment for foreign businessmen and companies in the sectors of finance and manufacturing with a few exceptions.

Second, China is becoming one of the most vocal supporters of globalization in a period of growing protectionism. Its peaceful development has gone in line with this process of interconnectedness and therefore it is prepared to strongly oppose backward tendencies. Xi reiterated his support for free trade saying that China would significantly lower the import tariffs for vehicles and reduce import tariffs for some other products this year.

Third, China is strengthening protection of intellectual property rights (IPR). The Chinese President encouraged normal technological exchanges and cooperation between Chinese and foreign enterprises and to respect the lawful IPR owned by foreign enterprises in the country. So, the State Intellectual Property Office will be re-established this year to step up law enforcement.

Fourth, China is giving further emphasis to the implementation of the Belt and Road Initiative. More infrastructure works are expected to take place in several regions on the basis of the"win-win"logic. This"win-win"means that not only Chinese state-owned enterprises, but also local and international companies as well as domestic workers will benefitfromthe magnitude of investments.

Fifth, China is heavily relying on multilateralism in its economic and foreign policy. It is not a coincidence that Xi spoke against zero-sum thinking and a potential resurrection of Cold War mentalities. International cooperation is critical to"making a greater contribution to humanity"and to lay the foundations for a peaceful community with a shared future for Asia and beyond. This message has become even more significant as a new war in Syria seems to be looming.

Sixth, China sees innovation as a critical component for its sustainable development and the implementation of the"New Normal."Future goals such as the shaping of"Made in China 2025"are also interwoven into it. Furthermore, by paying attention to innovation,living conditions for citizens improved, new job positions are created, the environment is better protected, and foreign entrepreneurs are finding new motivations to become involved in additional activities in China.

Seventh, the evolution of socialism with Chinese characteristics is not a vague objective but is connected with the level of satisfaction of citizens within the country. From Hainan province Xi reiterated his commitment to eliminating poverty. The last part of the herculean task is the most difficult one. The Chinese administration finds the already achieved progress insufficient and wants to proceed more drastically to support Chinese people who still live below the poverty line.

And eighth, China is interested in becoming engaged in dialogue, find relevant compromises and show responsibility in international affairs. Xi, for instance, explained that trade surpluses do not constitute a goal itself for his administration which seeks to increase imports. This policy will naturally make China less vulnerable to external crises as happened in 2007-2008 when the world financial crisis broke out and Chinese exports were hit.

Analysts and markets welcomed Xi's speech at the Boao Forum. To a large degree they associated his straightforward messages and conciliatory tone with his will to find a common denominator with his U.S.counterpart Donald Trump. But China never acts in a spasmodic way or under pressure. It is systematically developing its long-term plans. From Boao, Xi did not specifically respond to Trump. He outlined his country's steady policies.

George N. Tzogopoulos is a columnist with China.org.cn. For more information please visit:


Opinion articles reflect the views of their authors, not necessarily those of China.org.cn.


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