'Two Sessions' boost China's commitment to high-quality development

By Elenoire Laudieri
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail China.org.cn, March 18, 2019
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An aerial photo of the container terminal of Port of Qingdao, east China's Shandong province, on Nov. 8, 2018. [Photo/Xinhua]

Few people in the western world seem to be aware or are prepared to admit that China is engaged in a collective undertaking of immense proportions.

While it is generally acknowledged that China has performed an economic miracle in the last 40 years, there is little awareness that what it has achieved so far is the launch pad for a greater long-term goal – the rejuvenation of China and its driving role in building a global community with a shared future.

While the magnitude of such an undertaking is unprecedented in human history, China has been careful to carry this out steadily and progressively, avoiding short-term gains and allowing for adjustments and compromises should the need arise. 

In China's recent "Two Sessions," new rules were approved to treat all companies equally from a regulatory standpoint, whether they are foreign, private Chinese companies or state-owned enterprises (SOEs). This marks yet another step forward in China becoming more accessible to foreign businesses. The "Two Sessions" are the annual meeting of the National People's Congress where major policies are ratified, and the annual meeting of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, the government's main advisory group.

The rising of SOEs in China's economy has long been cited by the European Union as a reason for not granting China the status of a market economy. However, these new rules will break down barriers that protect SOEs from domestic and foreign competition and will also help foreign businesses by clearly identifying the few areas that remain subject to government control.

These changes were emphatically announced by Premier Li Keqiang in his government report to the National People's Congress during which he set this year's GDP growth at 6 to 6.5 percent – the lowest in the last three decades but still among the world's strongest. 

Robots carry goods at a warehouse in the Cainiao Future Park in Wuxi city, east China's Jiangsu province, Nov. 8, 2018. [Photo/Xinhua]

He also pledged higher spending on the development of technologies such as artificial intelligence, electric cars, biotechnology and in the fields of education, social programs and public infrastructure.

On the issue of intellectual property rights protection, the National People's Congress approved an amendment to the Patent Law which substantially increases the range of fines for violators. It added that this will also be backed by stringent law enforcement.

Hence, amid what Premier Li described as a "graver and more complicated environment" and risks that "are greater in number and size," China is still on the right track. 

After China rebalanced its economy in the last five years, steering it away from its dependence on manufacturing and moving toward a consumption-and-services-driven growth model, the reforms that emerged from the "Two Sessions" demonstrate China's willingness and determination to create a more comprehensive and equitable form of economic liberalization.

The very fact that these reform policies have been passed at a juncture when the U.S. is upholding unilateralism and protectionism, shows that China's multilateral opening-up is not a short-term response to external pressure, but a long-term commitment to high-quality development and will serve as an ever-growing contribution to the world economy.

Elenoire Laudieri is a sinologist and a strategic analyst of Asian Affairs.

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