China to promote greater opening up, easier market access: Li Qiang

Beijing: China will continue to promote the greater opening up of market opportunities and implement policies to remove all restrictions on foreign investment in the country’s manufacturing sector, Chinese Premier Li Qiang said during his keynote speech at the opening ceremony of the sixth China International Import Expo (CIIE) and the Hongqiao International Economic Forum.

Addressing the event in Shanghai on Sunday, Li said China, with a population of over 1.4 billion people and a middle-income group of over 400 million people, presents huge potential in terms of market demand and the country has always been willing to share its market opportunities.

“China will actively expand imports, promote coordinated development of trade in goods and services, implement negative lists for cross-border service trade, support innovation in foreign trade formats and models, and boost digital trade,” Li said.

China’s imports of goods and services are expected to reach $17 trillion in cumulative terms in the next five years, he added.

China will soon release an overall plan to promote high-standard institutional opening up in the Shanghai free trade zone and establish a pilot zone for Silk Road e-commerce cooperation in the city.

“China sincerely hopes to work with other countries in the world, to meet each other halfway and achieve mutual success on an open stage,” he told the gathering.

This year’s CIIE Country Exhibition features 72 nations and international organizations while the Business Exhibition is expected to attract more than 3,400 enterprises from 128 countries and regions.

Covering 367,000 square meters, the Business Exhibition features a record-high 289 of the world’s top 500 enterprises and industry giants.

The exhibition area and number of projects in the Innovation Incubation Area have doubled compared with the previous expo.

Notably, there are 64 Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) partner countries participating in the Country Exhibition, with more than 1,500 related companies participating in the Business Exhibition. The exhibition area is also approximately 30 percent bigger compared with the previous expo.