File photo taken on March 23, 2018 shows the Boao International Conference Center in Boao, south China's Hainan Province. (Xinhua/Jin Liangkuai)
Chinese President Xi Jinping's latest pledge of further opening-up made at Asia's top economic forum has offered a much-needed boost to global confidence in building an open, all-win world economy.[Special coverage]
Leaders and observers across the world have said that the speech Xi delivered Tuesday at the Boao Forum for Asia (BFA) is particularly reassuring in the face of the alarming rise of protectionism and isolationism in some advanced economies.
CHAMPION OF OPENNESS
Summarizing the historical progress made since China adopted its reform and opening-up policy in 1978, Xi said "China's reform and opening-up meets its people's aspiration for development, innovation and a better life. It also meets the global trend toward development, cooperation and peace."
Contributing over 30 percent of global growth, China has recorded an average of 9.5 percent annual growth in the past four decades, Xi said, adding that more than 700 million Chinese people have been lifted out of poverty, accounting for more than 70 percent of the global total over the same period.
"The Chinese people have emerged from a life of shortages and poverty and are now enjoying abundant supply and a moderately prosperous life," he said at the forum, which is themed "An open and innovative Asia for a world of greater prosperity."
Leslie Maasdorp, vice president of the BRICS New Development Bank, said the forum comes at "a very interesting inflection point for China and for the region" as this year marks the 40th anniversary of the country's reform and opening-up.
Praising the Asian country's remarkable achievements in poverty elimination, Maasdorp said he considers China's past four decades a success -- its economy has grown, key infrastructure is being upgraded, and technology has enabled big companies such as Alibaba and Tencent to thrive.
Zheng Yongnian, director of the East Asian Institute at the National University of Singapore, said China's reform and opening-up has not only changed China's relations with the world, but provided a paradigm for other nations to achieve openness and prosperity.
Yasuo Fukuda, chairman of the BFA and former Japanese prime minister agreed, saying China's experience in implementing structural reform and dealing with globalization sets good examples for developing countries to avoid obstacles in pursuing development.
GROUNDBREAKING NEW MEASURES
What attracted the most attention from forum attendees and analysts has been a set of groundbreaking new measures Xi unveiled to consolidate China's past success and further expand the country's reform and opening-up. [ In his speech, Xi announced that China will significantly broaden market access, create a more attractive investment environment, strengthen the protection of intellectual property rights, and take the initiative to expand imports.
New steps to be taken include reducing import tariffs for vehicles and some other products, and seeking faster progress toward joining the World Trade Organization Government Procurement Agreement, among others.
Sourabh Gupta, senior fellow at the Institute for China-America Studies in Washington, D.C., said "the specific and achievable measures" provide a "tangible basis to assess the continuing commitment to openness" of China.
"It was reassuring to hear President Xi speak in a measured but firm tone that China will not be deflected from the path of openness and globalization," after a series of protectionist measures were taken by the United States, he said.