China to uphold openness and common development for better Asia-Pacific cooperation
Hernan Garces, a grandson of a Chilean cherry planter, is glad to see his family business has become a main cherry exporter to China. Boasting more than 80 percent of its cherries exported to China, Garces, manager of one of the biggest local cherry exporters, attributed his success to the sound business environment in China.
“The business environment in China is very friendly and there are endless possibilities,” said Garces, who has moved his family to Shanghai to better manage his business.
The cherries, spanning the northern and southern hemisphere, have witnessed the constant interdependence and deep integration between China’s economy and the Asia-Pacific economy.
Openness and common development
Chinese President Xi Jinping noted in his speech delivered to the APEC CEO Summit in San Francisco on Thursday that since the first Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Economic Leaders’ Meeting in 1993, the region has experienced deepened economic cooperation and integration.
“Over the past three decades, we have stayed committed to open regionalism, opening-up and inclusiveness, learned from each other’s strengths, exchanged needs, focused on development and jointly developed ‘the APEC Approach’ based on the principles of voluntarism, consensus-building and incremental progress, capitalizing on the spirit of partnership featuring harmony without uniformity, and solidarity and mutual assistance,” Xi added.
The Chinese President said openness, inclusiveness and development for all outshine others on the remarkable journey of Asia-Pacific cooperation.
“Over the past three decades, the Asia-Pacific has cut its average tariff rate from 17 percent to 5 percent, and contributed 70 percent of global economic growth,” said Xi, adding that in the same period, “per capita income in the Asia-Pacific has more than quadrupled, and one billion people have been lifted out of poverty.”
Despite different histories and cultures and stages of development, Xi stressed that seeking common ground while shelving differences is the best practice of regional cooperation.
Facilitating regional cooperation
Pointing out that the world has entered a new period of turbulence and change, Xi said the absence of cooperation is the biggest risk, and that decoupling and supply-chain disruption is not in anyone’s interest.
He went on to say that APEC economies should “steadfastly advance the building of a Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific.”
Facts speak louder than words. In recent years, China has continuously deepened economic and trade cooperation with other 20 APEC economies, and continued to contribute China’s strength to the construction of the Asia-Pacific economy, according to China’s Ministry of Commerce (MOC).
Specifically speaking, in 2022, the total import and export volume of China and APEC members was $3,739.08 billion, accounting for 59.7 percent of the total import and export volume of China, according to MOC data.
The data also showed in the same year that eight of China’s top 10 trading partners are APEC members and China is the largest trading partner of 13 APEC economies.
Luo Rong, a researcher at the Chinese Academy of Macroeconomic Research, noticed that China’s door is opening wider, its capability to use foreign investment continues to grow and its business environment continues to improve. “All those will inject new vitality and impetus into regional economic growth.”
More measures to invite foreign investment
Since China’s reform and opening-up 45 years ago, APEC has become the first economic and trade organization that it joined.
At the new starting point, Xi said China remains committed to pursuing development with its doors open and will unswervingly advance high-standard opening up and further expand market access, adding that China has announced the removal of all restrictive measures on foreign investment in manufacturing.
The Chinese President also said no matter how the international situation evolves, China’s resolution to foster a market-oriented, law-based and world-class business environment will not change, adding that its policy for providing equal and quality services to foreign investors will not change.
Xi also said the world’s largest developing country will also take more measures, such as improving the policies on entry and stay of foreign nationals in China and removing obstacles in financial, medical, e-payment and other services.
For example, Beijing has streamlined the process of obtaining work permits and work-type residence permits for foreigners. All foreign talents working in Beijing are entitled to the convenient one-stop application service for the two permits at any of the 15 one-stop service counters across the city.
“All this is designed to make it easier for foreign companies to invest and operate in China,” said Xi.
(With input from Xinhua)