China Defends Globalization, Calling for Free Trade, Shared Benefits

China reiterates its support for globalization and calls for greater policy coordination among governments to foster growth and support free and fair trade during the annual conference of the Boao Forum for Asia.
by China India Dialogue
March 25, 2017: Delegates attend the opening ceremony of the Boao Forum for Asia Annual Conference 2017 in Boao, southern China’s Hainan Province. by Guo Cheng/Xinhua

China called on Asian economies to jointly push ahead with globalization and free trade while ensuring shared benefits and inclusiveness, during the annual conference of the Boao Forum for Asia (BFA).

“We should work together and stick to the principle of opening up and development… and to promote the establishment of the global value chain with the emphasis on shared benefits,” said Chinese Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli when he addressed the opening ceremony of the BFA’s annual meeting in southern China’s Hainan Province on March 25.

Zhang acknowledged the positive role Asian economies have played in driving global growth and free trade as active participants of globalization.

Chinese President Xi Jinping said in a letter to the forum that this year’s conference, themed “Globalization and Free Trade: The Asian Perspectives,” shows a collective focus in the region.

During his keynote speech, the vice premier vowed for further opening of the Chinese market to global investors while maintaining steady economic growth.

China will continue to improve the investment environment for overseas investors, and further facilitate access for foreign investment into its service, manufacturing and mining sectors, Zhang said.

Foreign-funded enterprises will be encouraged to list on local bourses and issue bonds in China, the vice premier added.

The legitimate rights of investors will be strictly protected, he said, alleging that China will make its market more transparent and attractive to foreign investors.

“They will be treated equally [to domestic enterprises] in areas such as government procurement and enjoying policies related to the Made in China 2025 strategy,” Zhang said.

While sticking to the opening-up process, China also wants to step up efforts to ensure balanced and healthy growth, according to the vice premier.

Bucking the trend of a sluggish world economy, China’s GDP grew by 6.7 percent last year and contributed over 30 percent of global growth.

“China is very capable of achieving its 6.5 percent growth target,” Zhang said.

The vice premier believes that China’s sound economic fundamentals remain unchanged despite the economy entering a ‘new normal’ period, and expects the nation to continue playing a crucial role in driving global growth.

Supply-side structural reform has seen its first results, Zhang said, citing capacity cuts in the steel and coal sectors and a more important role for consumption and services in driving the economy.

China will import goods worth US$8 trillion in the next five years, said the vice premier, and the country will also attract US$600 billion of foreign investment, with its outbound investment reaching US$750 billion during the same period.

This year’s BFA annual conference, attended by over 1,700 representatives from more than 50 countries and regions, runs until March 26.

The Boao Forum for Asia, since its founding 16 years ago, has contributed to building consensus, advancing cooperation and bolstering Asian influence. Promoting free and fair trade, improving regional cooperation and facilitating innovation and technology to generate new growth have been the key topics on the forum’s agenda.