China will expand its high-standard opening-up and fully implement the negative list for foreign investment, President Xi Jinping said in a keynote speech via video link on Thursday at the opening ceremony of the Boao Forum for Asia Annual Conference 2022.
Xi said the country will expand the encouraged catalog for foreign investment, improve services for promoting foreign investment and add more cities to the comprehensive pilot program for expanding the opening-up of the service sector.
No matter how the world changes, China's faith in and its commitment to reform and opening-up will not waver, he added.
Xi said the Chinese economy enjoys strong resilience, enormous potential and vast room for maneuvering, and the country's long-term economic fundamentals remain unchanged, providing great dynamism for the stability and recovery of the world economy and broader market opportunities for all countries.
Sang Baichuan, dean of the Institute of International Economy at the University of International Business and Economics, said the keynote speech showcased China's strong commitment to expanding high-level opening-up and building an open world economy.
China is expected to further open up the service sector to the rest of the world, take a more proactive approach to align with high-standard international economic and trade rules and take more steps to optimize the business environment for foreign investors.
Sang said the coming into force of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership and China's application to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership also demonstrated China's commitment to openness, which will enhance regional integration and cooperation in Asia and greatly boost the economic recovery of trade and investment.
Sang's views were echoed by Huang Yiping, deputy dean and professor of the National School of Development at Peking University, who said the Chinese economy has benefited significantly from reform and opening-up during the past few decades, and it will continue to serve as a key driving force to boost further growth.
He noted China has taken solid steps to open up its financial and service sectors to the outside world.
"As President Xi Jinping reiterated in his opening speech, China will continue to open up to the outside world at a higher level, push forward the negative list for foreign investment access… This makes AstraZeneca and other multinational companies more determined to put down roots in and cooperate with China," said Leif Johansson, chairman of multinational pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca.
Johansson highlighted China's rapid economic development over the past four decades of reform and opening-up, saying China has significantly increased its influence in Asia and on the international stage. "Despite the far-reaching global impact of the COVID-19 outbreak, the Chinese economy is back on track and has become an important stabilizer and engine for world growth.
As the largest trading partner of many countries and regions and one of the few major economies able to maintain growth despite the pandemic, China's steady economic growth will provide people with confidence in world economic growth, he added.
"As a multinational enterprise rooted in China for about 30 years, Astra-Zeneca will continue to actively grasp opportunities brought by China's continued opening-up and constantly optimized market environment, and further expand our strategic layout in the country," he said.
Samson Khaou, executive vice-president of Dassault Systemes Asia-Pacific, said Xi's keynote speech sent a signal of peace and stability to the world and gave the French software company strong confidence.
"This has also given foreign companies, including Dassault Systemes, more determination and laid a solid foundation for our firm integration into China's economic development," Khaou said.
The fact that the Boao Forum for Asia is being held as scheduled reflected China's adherence to the concept of openness, solidarity and win-win cooperation, he said.
Citing China's 4.8 percent year-on-year growth for the first quarter of the year, Khaou said it has further demonstrated the resilience and stability of the Chinese economy. "Having been rooted in China for nearly 17 years, we have witnessed the Chinese government take action to fulfill its commitment to open up at a higher level, optimize the business environment and promote business development."
With strong confidence in the Chinese market, Dassault Systemes said it will keep investing more in China to support its customers' growing needs.
In addition to Shanghai, Beijing, Guangzhou in Guangdong province and Chengdu in Sichuan province, the company said it will open a new office in Shenzhen to enhance its footprint and capabilities to work with industries in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area.