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Experts explore high-level opening up

Author  :  ZHA JIANGUO, XIA LI and CHEN LIAN     Source  :    Chinese Social Sciences Today     2020-11-06

The world today is undergoing major changes unseen in a century. Economic globalization, as the general development trend in human history, has an irreversible momentum. However, the rise of protectionism and unilateralism has challenged the global economy, affecting free trade and the multilateral system.

Affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, many countries have adjusted the global layout of their supply chains from a security perspective, said Tian Feng, a research fellow from the Institute of Information Studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

“We firmly believe that economic globalization is still a historical trend,” Tian said, adding that the division of labor and cooperation among countries, and mutual benefit, are long-term trends. International economic connectivity and exchanges are still objective requirements for the development of the world economy.

“Our choice to continue to deepen multilateral and bilateral cooperation shows that China will always stand on the right side of history, unremittingly promote economic globalization with an open and win-win mind, promote the construction of a fair and reasonable international economic governance system, and plan for the common development of human society,” Tian concluded.

Global economic development is facing some new difficulties, especially with severe fallout resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, said Zhang Zhaoan, former vice president of the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences. It is necessary for countries to make use of their comparative advantages, and further strengthen economic exchanges and mutual cooperation, jointly resolving the severe challenges facing the global economy.

The China International Import Expo (CIIE) is the world’s first national-level expo designed around the theme of imports, and it is a major innovation in the history of international trade development.

Zhang said that China’s gesture of hosting the CIIE has demonstrated to the world the country’s determination of and confidence in further opening up. In addition, China’s active increase in imports greatly boosts growth in exports for relevant countries, thereby injecting new impetus and new vitality into global economic growth.

It is vital to a new pattern of all-around opening up in China to elevate the coordinated development of Beijing, Tianjin and Hebei, the construction of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, and the integrated development of the Yangtze River Delta region to the level of national strategy, said Quan Heng, full-time vice chairman of the Shanghai Federation of Social Science Associations.

The three major regions have important foundations and conditions for the development of a high-level open economy, Quan explained. These regions are not only important growth poles that can take the lead in realizing high-quality development in China, but also pioneers who demonstrate China’s all-around open development in accordance with the highest international standards and levels. They also represent an important window for the world to observe the country’s economy and a barometer for its opening up.

China is pursuing a new development pattern of “dual circulation,” which smooths domestic circulation and lets domestic and international circulations reinforce each other.

Zhao Lingyun, Party secretary of Central China Normal University, noted that such a development pattern will be boosted through the further development of free trade zones, which will help expand domestic circulation by activating greater internal energy, and help expand international circulation through a higher level of opening up.

High-quality development is an important foundation and condition for high-level opening up, and the two complement each other. Zhao suggested emphasizing the role of free trade zones in advancing supply-side structural reforms, and promoting innovation-driven development and high-quality development.

It is necessary to enhance the pioneering functions of free trade zones to promote industrial transformation and upgrades, releasing their institutional and policy advantages of instinctively aligning with international practices. Zhao also suggested making use of their pioneering position in the R&D of new technologies and products, and in the cultivation of new industries and new formats, vigorously facilitating digital manufacturing, intelligent production, service trade, and technological innovation. This will lead the transformation and upgrade of domestic industrial structures, and enhance industrial competitiveness.

It is also vital for free trade zones to gather high-end innovation factors at home and abroad to promote scientific and technological innovation, thereby fundamentally supplementing and strengthening the industrial chain, and promoting dual circulation.

Wu Zhenlei, dean of the School of Economics and Management at Northwest University, said that continuing to expand market opening and optimizing the business environment is necessary for China to actively respond to changes in the global political and economic situation and facilitate the new development pattern of dual circulation.

Editor: Yu Hui

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