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An Ever-more Opening China Means more Opportunities for the World
2021/09/25

  As the economic recovery is gradually gaining ascendancy in Latin America and the Caribbean in the mist of the COVID-19 pandemic, the cooperation between China and the region injects considerable impetus into the process despite the geographic distance—according to the latest statistics, the overall bilateral trade volume registered a 45.6% year-on-year growth and topped 203 billion USD. This enhanced economic relationship induced a judgement from the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean: Asia, especially China, would be the major momentum for the export growth of LAC.

  So it would be for the world. When China decided to adopt the reform and opening-up policy in late 1978, it was a predominately an inward-looking country as for economy, with a foreign trade volume that only accounted for 9.7% of its GDP, one which ranked 11th among all countries—the country was far from an influential economic power to the world back then. The past forty-plus years has lifted China to the world’s second largest economy as well as the nation with the largest manufacturing, import and export volume (4.6 trillion USD in 2020) and foreign exchange reserve (3 trillion USD in 2020), during which China’s contribution to the world economic growth is over 20% on average. Therefore, it is unimaginable that China would ever be oblivious of how opening-up has transformed itself enormously and benefited the world.

  China’s door to the world will only open wider—Chinese President Xi Jinping made this promise in 2018 and China always walks the talk. Since then, China has organized 3 International Import Expos with the 4th one coming up this year, facilitated the agreement on “Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP)”, which is the world’s largest free trade area, and implemented the Foreign Investment Law that has improved the business environment for foreign companies and investors. Yet, even though the opening-up policy is in line with the mainstream, its “health condition” is still of great importance—this is why China has put stricter regulations on platform economy and education & training sector as well as tightened its grip on companies that process sensitive data—sector codes must be normalized, education equality must be improved, and cyber security must be protected. It is unfair to interpret these actions as restrictions or even crackdown on certain industry or enterprise.

  The most recent testament to China’s determination in opening up lies in President Xi’s speech at the Global Trade in Services Summit of the 2021 China International Fair for Trade in Services, as he announced that China will implement across the country a negative list for cross-border services trade, explore the development of national demonstration zones for the innovative development of trade in services, support Beijing and other localities in piloting the alignment of domestic rules with the ones in high-standard international free trade agreement, build demonstration zones of digital trade, and set up a Beijing Stock Exchange as the primary platform serving innovation-oriented small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

  The experience we drawn from the last four decades is that China cannot develop in isolation from the world, and the world also needs China for its development. It is more so in the post-pandemic era. As China entered into a new stage of development by embarking on a new journey toward the Second Centenary Goal of building a modern socialist country in all respects, accepted the new development philosophy that highlights the idea of innovative, coordinated, green, open and shared development, and accelerated the creation of a new development dynamic that focuses on domestic flow and features positive interplay between domestic flow and international engagement, it will maintain its ever-more opening tendency and continue to underpin world development.

  China’s steady economic growth facilitates the world’s recovery. As the COVID-19 pandemic sprawls and climate change inflicts heavy tolls on human beings, the headwind faced by the global economy still lingers. However, China meets all challenges head-on by coordinating pandemic control and social-economic development and gains its economy a blistering upturn—China was the only major economy that secured a positive economic growth in 2020 (2.3% year on year, a comparatively bright number), and the number for the first half of 2021 is an even more heartening 12.7%. According to the World Bank, the growth of China’s GDP will be 8.5% this year. Thus, a solid foundation was laid for China to strengthen world recovery. From January to July, China’s non-financial investment into countries along the Belt and Road Initiative(BRI) route surged to 11.29 billion USD, a 9.9% uptick, which served as booster shots for these countries’ convalescence. Moreover, the Chinese factories, thanks to the effective domestic anti-pandemic measures, are capable of ramping up production to help stabilize global supply chain—for the first 8 month this year, China’s export volume increased 23.7% to about 3.85 trillion USD, a historic high. Obviously, Chinese economy is merging with the global one at an even faster pace.

  China’s massive consumer market offers opportunities aplenty. China has a population of about 1.435 billion.With a growing middle-income group of 400 million people and their purchase power, consumption has become a strong pull for the economic growth in China. In 2020, China’s final consumption expenditure accounted for 54.3% of its GDP, and the GPD per capita went beyond 10,000 USD for two consecutive years. Consumer needs for foreign goods is not blunted by the pandemic, as the import volume for the first 7 month in 2021 was worth 1.74 trillion USD and registered a 24.4% growth. Foreign investors’ confidence in the Chinese market remains also steady—the foreign direct investment (FDI) received by China increased by 4% despite the global shrinkage, as it surpassed the US and became the world’s largest receiver for FDI. The amount of Foreign Capital Actually Utilized in the first 7 months went up by 30.9% and reached an encouraging 103.72 billion. Meanwhile, 39,000 new foreign companies were set up in China for the whole 2020 and the number continues to grow in 2021. According to the reports of US-China Business Council and European Union Chamber of Commerce in China, 95% US companies and 73% European companies were profitable in China in 2020, and two thirds of foreign enterprises in China are planning to enlarge their investment in the country, said 2021 China Business Climate Survey Report. Both traders and investors vote with their action to trust China’s pledge for wider openness, and Chinese consumers market is such a vibrant one in which no enterprise could ignore the commercial opportunities.

  China’s philosophy for development contributes to global governance. China upholds the idea of building a community with a shared future for humankind and thus takes the future of human beings into consideration when making decisions. China not only eyes on its own social-economic development, but also stands ready to engage in win-win cooperation with the rest of the world on the basis of mutual respect—it has signed 206 agreements with 140 countries and 32 international organizations under the BRI framework; it has promoted the global cause of poverty eradication by lifting about 800 million people out of absolute poverty over the past 70 years and sharing its rich experience with the world; and it has support developing countries in infrastructure and technology in order to help build resilience and self-reliance for a virtuous cycle. The ideas and initiatives proposed by China and like-minded nations are gradually becoming global public goods that enhance well-beings of all humankind. An open China will always be a builder of world peace, a contributor to global development and a guard to the international order.

  October 1, 2021 marks the 72nd anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China. Over the past 72 years, China has forged ahead and followed the path of socialism with Chinese characteristics, achieving leapfrog development, increasing overall national strength and improving people’s living standards—openness is one of the prerequisites for all these achievements. The past 16 years since the resumption of the diplomatic ties between China and Grenada have witnessed how China stepped towards a more profound opening-up—our political mutual trust has been strengthened through our cooperation on global and regional issues in the international arena; people-to-people exchanges have been facilitated through human resources training and scholarship programmes; infrastructure development has been reinforced as we sign the MOU on the Cooperation within the Framework of BRI; cultural bonds are tightened with the founding of the Confucius Classroom in TAMCC; practical cooperation in the fields of agriculture, heath, law enforcement, etc, have gained new momentum. A friend in need is a friend indeed. Distance cannot divide true friends who feel close even when thousands of miles apart as long as they are open to each other—China and Grenada jointly put this saying into practice.

  China is both a beneficiary and a contributor to globalization. As China has realized the first centenary goal by completing the building of a moderately prosperous society in all respects and embarks on a new journey toward the second centenary goal of fully building a modern socialist country, it is China’s sincere hope that other countries could reap benefits by boarding the express train of China’s economic development, relish the fruits from practical cooperation and join hands with China -to ensure an open, inclusive, balanced and win-win economic globalization.

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