China will implement "as soon as possible" major economic opening-up measures that have been decided on while going all-out to fight the "three tough battles" — prevention of major risks, targeted poverty alleviation and pollution control — China's top leadership said at a high-profile Party meeting on Monday.
"China will push reform and opening-up more actively, and deepen State-owned enterprise and asset as well as fiscal and financial reforms to implement major opening-up measures previously fixed," said a statement released after a meeting of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, presided over by Xi Jinping, general secretary of CPC Central Committee.
Xi said on April 10 that China will expand market access, create a more favorable investment environment, strengthen protection of intellectual property rights and increase imports. He spoke at the Boao Forum for Asia in Hainan province. On April 13, Xi announced a decision by the Central Committee to support building Hainan into a pilot free trade zone and steadily into a free trade port.
The moves "send a strong message of China deepening reform and opening-up", the statement said.
The nation also will push the healthy development of credit, stock, bond, exchange rate and real estate markets and strengthen supervision in a timely manner to forestall hidden risks.
"Before it further opens its economy up, it needs to maintain domestic financial system security," said Liang Haiming, chief economist at China Silk Road iValley Research Institute, a Beijing-based think tank. "It must improve its domestic financial markets to lay a solid foundation for further participating in international financial operations and rule-making."
China needs to put risk prevention atop its agenda, said Xu Hongcai, an economist at China Center for International Economic Exchanges. "The financial markets still more or less have some risks, and the Party meeting is reiterating the importance of forestalling systemic risks."
The country will also devise guidelines for directing high-quality development and encourage local governments to explore ways to push high-quality development, the statement said. China will accelerate economic restructuring while steadily expanding domestic demand, it said.
"For such a big economy as China, it is a reasonable choice to rely on domestic demand" to develop the economy, Xu said.
The statement from Monday's meeting said China has seen a good start to its high-quality development after it maintained steady growth momentum in the first quarter of this year, with its GDP expanding by 6.8 percent year-on-year. Other major economic indicators also pointed to stronger domestic demand and good coordination between industrial growth and service sectors, meeting participants agreed.
Economic restructuring has played a bigger role in supporting growth as good progress was made in developing new industries and upgrading traditional sectors, the statement said.