Institutional opening-up for new development advantages

Source:Chinese Social Sciences Today 2023-04-11

Institutional opening-up is an important hallmark of China’s high-standard opening-up to the outside world, and an inevitable requirement for building a new system of a higher standard open economy. Therefore, we should seize the key of institutional opening-up by actively participating in international economic and trade rule negotiation and lead the formulation of international economic and trade rules.

Digital economy

Alignment with international high-standard economic and trade rules should be prioritized. With the new round of technological and industrial transformation, the digital economy is booming, and service trades, especially digital service trades, are developing rapidly. Therefore, attention should be paid not only to the rules of traditional trade in goods, but also to those in the fields of the digital economy, service trades, and cross-border investments. It can be said that coordination of behind-the-border measures is an inherent requirement and inevitable choice as the division of labor deepens along the value chains. Therefore, in addition to traditional border measures such as tariffs, attention should also be paid to various behind-the-border measures such as competitive neutrality, environmental protection, property rights protection, and labor standards.

China has actively explored benchmarking against international high-standard economic and trade rules, the most typical of which is actively benchmarking against international rules for foreign investment access. It has taken the lead in introducing a foreign investment access management model of the pre-establishment national treatment plus negative lists in the China (Shanghai) Pilot Free Trade Zone (FTZ).

In terms of benchmarking internationally accepted high-standard economic and trade rules, it is necessary to actively increase stress testing. To this end, China has applied to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (CPTPP) and the Digital Economy Partnership Agreement (DEPA), and will strengthen forward-looking research on the rules embodied therein.

Global vision

Combining national strategies such as Pilot FTZs and the Hainan Free Trade Port, we will adhere to problem-oriented and demand-oriented policies and promote thorough opening-up in key areas such as foreign investment access, cross-border service trade, and data and talent flow. We should summarize mature experiences and models, replicate and promote them, and amplify spillover effects. It is, of course, necessary to coordinate opening up and security to effectively prevent systemic risks, since safe development is an inherent requirement for high-quality development. It is necessary to firmly establish risk awareness and bottom line thinking, update regulatory concepts, make good use of sci-tech means to strengthen supervision, improve the regulatory rule system and governance system, establish and improve the risk emergency response mechanism, and enhance risk prevention capabilities in expanding opening-up.

To participate in and lead the formulation of international economic and trade rules, it is necessary to actively safeguard the multilateral trading system with the WTO as its core, promote necessary reforms within the WTO, and properly use it as a multilateral trade negotiation platform. Second, efforts are needed to give full play to the role of pilot FTZs in participating in the experimental field of international economic governance, and link it with the construction of a global network of high-standard free trade zones. We should make good use of platforms and opportunities such as jointly building the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and negotiating bilateral and regional free trade agreements, actively organize negotiations on multilateral economic and trade rules, and expand the convergence of interests with other countries. Third, we need to focus on building consensus through a shared global governance perspective of “extensive consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits,” bridge differences with a new globalization concept that is open, inclusive, balanced and beneficial to all, fully play a coordinating and leading role, and safeguard the equal development rights of developing countries.


Hao Shenyong is an associate professor from the Department of Economics at the Shanghai Party Institute of CPC.

Editor:Yu Hui

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