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Global Times

Xi highlights China's leading role in multilateralism at G20

Global Times

By Li Xuanmin in Osaka and Li Ruohan in Beijing Source:Global Times Published: 2019/6/28 21:53:41

Announces five proposals to improve biz environment

Chinese President Xi Jinping on Friday announced five major policies that will further open up the Chinese market, which was widely and positively echoed by participants who share the concern of rising unilateralism.

The announcements made by Xi at the ongoing G20 summit in Osaka, Japan include lower trade barriers, expansion of imports, improvement in the business environment and better treatment for foreign investments in line with the country's new Foreign Investment Law.

China will soon release a new negative list for foreign investments, lowering barriers for industries, including mining, agriculture, manufacturing and services while further lowering overall tariffs and diminishing non-tariff trade barriers, in line with China's commitment to continuously open up and reform, the Chinese president said at the 14th G20 summit.

To further boost the business environment, China will introduce a punitive damage system for infringements, strengthen civil and criminal protection, and improve the level of intellectual property protection, Xi said.

To expand the overall opening-up and reform, China will also promote regional economic partnership agreements, accelerate negotiations for a China-Europe investment agreement and China-Japan-South Korea Free Trade Agreement (FTA), Xi added.

"It's great to know that China is opening up further. Foreign investors will now feel more secure to invest in China, and we will see a surge in investments from the EU if these measures are implemented," Sven Afhueppe, editor-in-chief of German media Handelsblatt, told the Global Times on the sidelines of the summit.

Afhueppe also noted that it's a clever strategy by the Chinese government against the backdrop of the lingering China-US trade war. "It is absolutely necessary to build stronger relations with other countries like Germany and other European countries, as there is a deep trust between Europe and China [in economic relations]."

China's pledge to build an open and market-oriented economy is also adding certainties and predictability to the global economy under "US bullying," a research fellow at a Japan-based think tank, who prefers not to be identified, told the Global Times on Friday.

"Big companies are nervous because they feel the atmosphere has become much more unpredictable. In the past, we had a multilateral system where one country could complain about another country, but now the system is on the brink of breaking down because of Trump's moves," he said.

China will completely remove restrictions on foreign investment access beyond the negative list so that fair and comprehensive treatment is given to foreign firms, Xi said.

In the next step, the country will treat all types of enterprises registered in China equally, and establish and improve complaint redress mechanisms for foreign-funded enterprises, Xi said.

The efforts pledged by Xi are also in line with the Foreign Investment Law, which will take effect on January 1, 2020 and is expected to further optimize the investment environment for foreign-funded companies.

The proposals show that China is taking a lead role by proactively promoting domestic reforms to uphold multilateralism and safeguarding economic globalization, said Bai Ming, deputy director of the Ministry of Commerce's International Market Research Institute.

These reforms are expected to unite more countries which also share the mission of safeguarding free trade at a time when some countries are damaging the process of globalization, Bai told the Global Times.

In line with the Chinese president's pledge at other occasions, such as the Second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation, the Boao Forum for Asia and the China International Import Expo, those measures have shown China's consistent efforts to promote free trade and multilateralism as a responsible power, analysts said.

Interviewees told the Global Times on the sidelines of the G20 summit on Friday that China could play an important role in countering protectionism and helping the global economy recover.

Noriyoshi Nohara, chief researcher of Japan-based Institute for International Trade and Investment, told the Global Times that the G20 Osaka Summit is a huge chance for China to showcase its global governance concept of fairness and objectivity.

During the G20 summit, China could further deliver to the world its wisdom in "consultations, joint building and sharing," and shoulder the responsibility of global economic governance and reform under the globalization tide, said analysts.

Chinese solution

On Friday, Xi also held a small-scale meeting with African leaders, including South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, Chair of the African Union and President of Egypt Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, Senegal President and Co-chair of Forum on China-Africa Cooperation Macky Sall and the Secretary General of the United Nations (UN) António Guterres, said Dai Bing, a representative of the Chinese delegation.

The meeting sends a strong signal to the world to uphold multilateralism as South Africa, Egypt, Senegal and UN are important forces in implementing multilateralism, Dai said at a press conference.

"All leaders clearly expressed their commitment to multilateralism, upholding the UN-centered international system and free trade system, opposing protectionism and unilateralism and jointly defending international fairness and justice," Dai noted.

At a meeting with other BRICS leaders, Xi called on BRICS countries to enhance their strategic partnership and promote the improvement of global governance.

Xi attended the China-Russia-India leaders' meeting on Friday, where the leaders agreed to support the international system with the United Nations as the core based on international rules.

They also agreed to support multilateralism, free trade and economic globalization, accurately grasp the direction of WTO reforms and strengthen energy cooperation, Wu Jianghao, representative of the Chinese delegation in G20 Summit, said at a press briefing on Friday.

Some interviewees told the Global Times that the meeting could exert pressure on US President Donald Trump's stance on China.

Xi also met with German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Friday. The two leaders agreed to discuss cooperation within the framework of the Belt and Road Initiative and strive to conclude negotiations on the China-European Union bilateral investment treaty next year.

In his Friday speech, Xi called on G20 major economies to promote international innovation cooperation, move beyond border limits and man-made fences, pool global wisdom to tackle common problems, and broadly apply innovation outcomes to benefit more countries and peoples.

During the Osaka summit, Xi is also scheduled to participate in discussions on topics ranging from world economy and trade, the digital economy, inclusive and sustainable growth, infrastructure, climate, energy to environment, elaborating on China's standpoint toward world economic situation and offering solutions for the current problems.

Chen Qingqing contributed to this story

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