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China Open Economy

by S. Jack Heffernan Ph.D

Chinese President Xi Jinping on Tuesday stressed efforts to put in place new systems for a higher-standard open economy and promote the gradual transition from dual control over the amount and intensity of energy consumption to dual control over the amount and intensity of carbon emissions.

Xi, also general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission, made the remarks while presiding over a meeting of the central commission for deepening overall reform, which he heads.

Xi said that new systems for a higher-standard open economy are a strategic move to proactively boost reform and development through opening up.

He highlighted the importance of institutional opening up and deepening institutional reform in investment, trade, finance, and innovation, among other key areas of foreign exchanges and cooperation, to actively raise China’s opening up to a new level.

While staying focused on the strategic target of realizing modernization of agriculture and rural areas and building up its strength in agriculture, China should regard the handling of the relationship between farmers and land as its main task and work faster to shore up weak links in agricultural and rural development, to lay a solid foundation for building a modern socialist country in all respects, Xi said.

The building of ecological civilization has entered a critical period where cutting carbon emissions has become a strategic focus, Xi said.

He called for efforts to exercise better control over the amount and intensity of energy consumption and shift gradually towards controlling both the amount and intensity of carbon emissions.

Xi stressed the necessity of promoting the reform of the salary system for university faculty members and research fellows in order to further unleash innovation vitality and creativity in institutions of higher learning and research institutes.

On improving the national oil and gas supply capability, Xi said China should actively and prudently promote the institutional reform of the upstream, midstream and downstream sectors of oil and gas industries and ensure a stable and reliable supply.

On the electricity system, Xi demanded efforts to accelerate the building of a new power system that is clean and low-carbon, safe and sufficient, and cost-effective and highly efficient to promote the revolution of energy production and consumption and ensure national energy security.

Li Qiang, Wang Huning, and Cai Qi, all members of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee and deputy directors of the central commission for deepening overall reform, attended the meeting.

The meeting noted that China’s development is facing a complex international situation. Efforts should be made to optimize the top-level design of new systems for an open economy, deepen institutional reform in trade and investment sectors, expand market access, and optimize the business environment and the service and support system.

China’s comprehensive strength should be given full play to attract global resources and production factors based on China’s strong domestic economy, which will improve the level and quality of trade and investment cooperation, according to the meeting.

It urged a tight connection between building a higher-standard open economy and national strategies, such as high-quality Belt and Road cooperation, amid efforts to actively participate in the reform and construction of the global governance system.

The meeting urged a holistic approach to deal with the relationship between development and carbon emissions, seeking truth from facts, being realistic and pragmatic, and adjusting and optimizing policies and measures scientifically.

The meeting also urged reform in the oil and natural gas market and reserve system.

In building a new electricity system, the proportion of traditional energy would decrease in a well-planned manner based on the safe and reliable substitution of new energy. An effective market and competent government should integrate better to deliver fundamental public services in electricity, according to the meeting.

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