China Center for International Economic Exchanges

Wei Jianguo: China will become the best place to do business in the world in the next five years
Date:Nov 15,2017    Source:CCIEE

Entering a new era, the innovative technology keeps promoting continuous development of the economy, meanwhile, the world economy faces various difficulties, requesting us to undertake structural reform so as to adapt ourselves to the new changes , seize new opportunities and meet new challenges.

The economic transformation and reform in China can be a very long and arduous process due to its level of development, large population and economic size. In the future, economic reform will be even harder and thus, a master plan is urgently needed. How will the instructions of the 19th CPC National Congress affect the future economic structure is an important question.

At the international forum of "Dialogue with the world”, hosted by the Phoenix Network on November 3, Wei Jianguo, Vice Chairman of the China Center for International Economic Exchanges and former Vice Minister of Commerce, offered his unique insights on the topic of the belt and road and the future of China's real economy. He said that China's current investment environment, business environment and customer response are better than before and China will further strengthen the protection of intellectual property rights, create a fairer business environment for foreign and private enterprises. Speaking of the present international environment, Wei Jianguo believes that we should improve it first and then push it forward, enhance China’s discourse power so that the international order can adapt itself to the new world pattern. The Belt and Road initiative can be seen as China's third reform and opening up, and it is a great pioneering work of China on building a community of shared destiny for mankind.

Below is the speech delivered by Wei Jianguo.

China's economy will grow by more than 6.9 % next year

First of all, I would like to tell you two little stories.

Last month I met Susan, a lovely lady from the US, and she told me something which I find very interesting. She said that the first thing she did after arriving in China is to try the bike-sharing in Shanghai. I asked her why she wanted to ride it. She said that being able to ride a bike to anywhere and at anytime in a big city was one of her dreams, and She made that dream become true in Shanghai, she was very happy. She said that Bill Gates is ready to step up support for China, especially in poverty alleviation, and he is planning to invest another $400 million in western China to fight poverty.

The second story is about a good friend of mine, an Arab student studying Chinese in China. He speaks Chinese very well and is the director of an organization in Yiwu, Zhejiang province of China. He said that the number of Arab students in Yiwu has reached 9,000, and they are buying goods and send them to central and European countries as well as Arab countries, a quarter of them even married Chinese girls.

In his previous speech, Mr. Li Daokui predicted that China's economic growth will be 6.8% next year. Based on the two stories above, my prediction is different, I think the growth for next year will be 6.9%, even 7%, there are two reasons for that. 

On the one hand, the supply-side structural reform will be enhanced next year, and we will see more positive impact on the real economy, manufacturing, technology and finance.

On the other hand, we will achieve three equalizations for China’s private companies and foreign companies. This will help not just the building of the belt and road but also the real economy as a whole. Based on this, I think that China’s GDP growth is not 6.8% or below 6.8%, but 6.9%, or even more than that next year.

China should not overrule the existing international order

The report of the 19th CPC National Congress says that we must replace the civilization supremacy with civilization communication. Regarding the international order established by the US after the second world war, we should not overrule it but to improve it, same with the WTO, FTI, the World Bank, IBF, and the UN charter. We should enhance China's say in the international arena. The purpose of the improvement is to make the existing order to fit today's world order.

Improvement is by no means a radical change, it means that we want to make it better and better. China is a participant, a founder, a supporter and a beneficiary of the international order. However, I do not agree with the views of some experts, saying that China is the biggest beneficiary because the US is also a big beneficiary. Furthermore, changing the existing international order will allow the United Nations and UN charter to play a bigger role in international affairs. That means we should not intervene in the internal affairs of any countries by force, instead, we should replace confrontation with dialogue, and refrain from taking military actions. All this will be highlighted in the future of China's dialogue.

Currently, the global economy is having a bad time, especially the US, but the Chinese economy is doing well. The US blames China for its sluggish economy, which is so unfair.

The Belt and Road Initiative is China's third reform and opening up

I was in charge of the China-US trade when I was the Vice Minister of Commerce. The principle applied by the US for its high-tech exports to China is the so-called end-user survey, an outdated measure of the cold war. According to such principle, the US will investigate where the products will be used after the sale, are they being used for military purpose, for example. I do not think that this is good for the long-term cooperation between China and the US.

Personally, I think that the current investment environment, business environment and customer response in China have made greater progress than before. More than 60% of the US companies in China are willing to increase their investment or re-invest because they are confident about China’s future. The report of the 19th CPC National Congress points out that we will further increase the protection of intellectual property rights, and improve fairness in three aspects to make sure that foreign and private enterprises in China enjoy the same rights, subject to the same laws and regulations and have the same opportunities for development.

Specifically speaking, the equal right is like taking the university entrance examination in China: everyone has the right to take the exam regardless whether you are urban or rural resident, healthy or disabled. Equal rules mean that we will treat all companies equally regardless they are Chinese or foreign companies, so long as they operate in China. The third equality is that both the Chinese and foreign companies should have the same opportunity. Therefore, I think in the next five years, China will have the best global business environment, and the best protection for global intellectual property.

The Belt and Road Initiative can be seen as China's third reform and opening up. If we consider the establishment of the special economic zones several decades ago as the first reform and opening up, and China’s accession to the WTO as the second reform and opening-up, then the third one would be the building of the Belt and Road. The initiative is China's greatest innovation in building a community of shared destiny for mankind. So, I hope that Europe, the United States, and other western countries will not miss the opportunity again.

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