CCPIT: Contributor to China's high-standard opening-up
Chen Jian'an

Editor's note: Decision Makers is a global platform for decision makers to share their insights on events shaping today's world. Chen Jian'an is vice chairman of the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade. The article reflects the author's opinions and not necessarily those of CGTN.

Opening-up has become a distinctive mark of contemporary China. Since the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC), China has shown its commitment as a major country to opening-up to the outside world, and has contributed more than 30 percent of world economic growth for many years in a row, becoming a major stabilizer and engine of global growth. As an important window of China's opening up to the outside world, China Council for the Promotion of International Trade (CCPIT) is committed to strengthening ties between Chinese and foreign enterprises, promoting international trade exchanges as well as the development of national relations. It has improved the quality and effectiveness of trade promotion work, and gradually evolves into an important force in China's cause of foreign trade and economic cooperation.

Historic achievements in China's opening-up

Over the past decade, China has made full use of the domestic and overseas markets and resources therein to expand its foreign trade and economic cooperation, promote deep-level reforms and high-quality development with high-standard opening-up, and create a new paradigm of opening-up to the outside world.

Firstly, high-quality construction under the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) carves out new space for opening-up. With an eye on opening up the inland and creating westward opening-up channels, China has signed more than 200 cooperation documents with 149 countries and 32 international organizations to jointly build the Belt and Road. The China-Laos Railway has been opened to traffic, and a large number of projects such as the Jakarta-Bandung High Speed Railway have been making steady headway. The opening-up strategy gradually extends from the regions along the coast and major rivers to the China's hinterland and border areas. From 2013 to 2021, China's trade in goods with countries along the Belt and Road reached $11 trillion. In 2021, Chinese companies' non-financial direct investment in 57 countries along the Belt and Road reached $120.3 billion, up 14.1 percent year-on-year.

Furthermore, foreign economic and trade cooperation has reached a new level. Total trade in goods and services grew from $4.4 trillion in 2012 to $6.9 trillion in 2021, rising from the second place in the world to the first for two consecutive years. China's position as the world's top country in goods trade has become more solid. Two-way investment between China and its foreign partners has constantly ranked among the world's top. Since 2017, China has been attracting the world's second largest foreign investment for four consecutive years, with the amount reaching 1.15 trillion yuan in 2021, up 62.9 percent from 2012. For many years, China's outbound investment flows have been among the top three in the world, with a total non-financial outbound direct investment of $113.6 billion in 2021, up 47 percent from 2012.

Meanwhile, new steps have been taken in institutional opening-up. Foreign-related economic laws, regulations and policies have been improved, and the governance capacity and development quality of an open economy have been greatly enhanced. After four years of exploration, the practice of negative list for access of foreign investment in the Pilot Free Trade Zone (FTZ) has been replicated across China, and the number of items restricted to foreign investors was reduced from 93 to 31. The new Foreign Investment Law was enacted to establish a new system for foreign investment management. Last year, the first negative list for cross-border trade in services took effect in Hainan Province. The pilot projects for the innovative development of trade in services have been deepened, with the task implementation progress rate of the national comprehensive demonstration zone of service industry opening-up in Beijing reaching 89 percent. Besides, four new pilot zones were established in Tianjin, Shanghai, Chongqing and Hainan.

It is an encouraging sign that new progress has been made in the construction of open platforms. In line with international high-standard economic and trade rules, the construction of pilot free trade zones and free trade ports has changed from a blueprint to a reality. Since 2013, 21 pilot free trade zones have been established, with a total of more than 3,400 pilot reforms and 278 institutional innovations replicated and promoted nationwide, contributing 17.3 percent of China's import and export and 18.5 percent of all foreign investment to China. 2018 saw the initiation of the construction of Hainan Free Trade Port, a project boasting a total of more than 120 institutional innovations. The successful hosting of major exhibitions such as China International Import Expo (CIIE), China Import and Export Fair (Canton Fair) and China International Fair for Trade in Services (CIFTIS), demonstrated the initiative China took as a major country to open its market to the world.

New breakthroughs also have been achieved in mutually beneficial regional cooperation. China has been accelerating the implementation of the FTZ upgrading strategy, and China's circle of friends regarding free trade keeps expanding. The number of FTAs signed by China has increased from 10 to 19, involving 26 countries and regions. The trade with FTA partners as a share of China's total foreign trade has increased from 17 percent to 35 percent. On January 1, 2022, RCEP officially came into effect, marking the launch of a FTZ with the largest population, the most diversified membership structure and the largest economic and trade scale in the world, which injected new impetus into the regional economic development. China has made formal applications for accession to the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) and the Digital Economy Partnership Agreement (DEPA), taking new steps towards achieving the goal of concluding high-standard free trade agreements.

In recent years, China has made new contributions to global economic governance. By taking into account both domestic and international situations, China continues to deepen interactions with the outside world. China have actively participated in the reform of the WTO and firmly upheld the multilateral trade system. China has also played an active role in international macroeconomic policy coordination and advocated for the building of an open world economy. China has put forward initiatives and proposals in international arenas such as G20 and APEC. In 2014, China promoted the conclusion of the "Beijing Roadmap for APEC's Contribution to the Realization of the FTAAP." In 2016, China facilitated the conclusion of the "G20 Guiding Principles for Global Investment Policymaking," becoming one of the important forces driving the development and changes in the international landscape.

Qingdao Area of China (Shandong) Pilot Free Trade Zone, September 12. 2022. /CFP

Qingdao Area of China (Shandong) Pilot Free Trade Zone, September 12. 2022. /CFP

CCPIT strives to write a new chapter in the development of trade promotion in the new era

Over the past decade, CCPIT has taken a more far-sighted vision, a broader perspective and more practical measures to build a platform to promote cooperation between Chinese and foreign enterprises, act as a bridge to connect domestic and international markets, and drive the cause of trade promotion to new heights.

CPPIT is fully committed to serving the major country diplomacy with Chinese characteristics. CPPIT proactively aligned its work with China's grand diplomacy strategy by organizing more than 250 major events attended by Chinese and foreign leaders, and 85 meetings between the CPC and government leaders and foreign business delegations. CPPIT took the lead in organizing the APEC CEO Summit, the B20 Summit and the BRICS Business Forum, where President Xi Jinping attended the opening ceremonies and delivered keynote speeches. CPPIT also completed the task of exhibiting at three World Expos on behalf of China. CPPIT has been strengthening the promotion of trade and investment in countries that have not established diplomatic relations with China and in countries that have newly established diplomatic relations with China. It organized more than 10 trade exhibitions of the People's Republic of China in Guatemala, El Salvador and other countries.

Upholding the principle of extensive consultation, joint construction and shared benefits, CPPIT is a key contributor to the high-quality development of the Belt and Road Initiative. CCPIT have established 393 multilateral and bilateral business cooperation mechanisms with its counterparts in relevant countries and held more than 3,000 events such as exhibitions, forums and project matchmaking. CCPIT participated twice in organizing Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation. The Belt and Road CEO Conference led to the signing of 125 agreements between Chinese and foreign companies, with a total amount of over $64 billion. Besides, CCPIT also participated in organizing CIIE in the past four years and CIFTIS in the past three years, while holding more than 20 concurrent events which led to a number of contracts and MOUs being signed. CCPIT provided training to 36,000 companies and helped more than 3,000 companies to identify compliance risks.

To stimulate market development potential and enhance international exchanges, CCPIT keeps building a world-class business environment. CPPIT has been promoting the compliance with the new foreign investment law and its implementation regulations, as well as the regulation on optimizing the business environment. CPPIT has set up a task force to serve foreign-funded companies and established a fast-track reporting mechanism for companies to air their concerns and demands to higher-up authorities. CPPIT hosted the symposium for representatives of foreign business associations and foreign-funded enterprises in China for three consecutive years. CPPIT coordinates the national trade promotion network to build a business environment monitoring system consisting of monitoring centers, monitoring stations and monitoring points. CPPIT organizes foreign business associations in China and members of the China Chamber of International Commerce (CCOIC) to go on business visits in different parts of China. CPPIT has established 19 service centers for local pilot free trade zones. It has issued 41 million commercial certificates of various types and helped companies to access fee reduction and exemption with a worth of 1.2 billion yuan.

The past decade has witnessed unprecedented development of the rule of law in China, for instance, CPPIT provides high-quality commercial legal services on all fronts. On behalf of China's business community, CPPIT attended more than 10 hearings, including those of the U.S. Section 301 investigation, and defended the interests of Chinese companies. CPPIT also organized responses to nearly 100 foreign trade dispute cases against China, with more than $9 billion at stake. The number of newly accepted commercial and maritime arbitration cases by CPPIT increased by an average of 15 percent per annum, and the amount in dispute increased by 27 percent annually. Over 20,000 commercial mediation cases were handled by CPPIT, with an underlying contract value of over 30 billion yuan. CPPIT provided overseas IPR services to companies in 500,000 cases. The number of overseas patent applications filed by CPPIT on behalf of domestic companies grew 20 percent annually. Besides, CPPIT issued about 7,600 force majeure certificates, involving a total contract value of nearly 760 billion yuan. The Cross-border Trade and Investment Legal Services (CTILS) platform has published 30,000 domestic and international laws and policies, and received more than 257,000 enquiries from enterprises. CPPIT also initiated the establishment of the International Commercial Dispute Prevention and Settlement Organization (ICDPASO).

CPPIT actively participates in the reform of the global economic governance system. As a staunch supporter of multilateralism and free trade, CPPIT has facilitated the deep involvement of Chinese companies in business activities under multilateral mechanisms, and put forward a series of Chinese initiatives. CPPIT has made proposals to promote the WTO reform and become increasingly active in the International Chamber of Commerce. Moreover, CPPIT carries out responsibilities in organizing, coordinating, supervising and managing the affairs associated with China's participation in the Bureau International des Expositions (BIE). CPPIT has become a long-term observer of World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), an observer of UNCITRAL and a full observer of UNCTAD, and obtained consultative status with UNIDO. CPPIT organized a number of conferences in cooperation with the International Financial Forum, and recommended 194 persons to work in international organizations.

To promote high-quality economic and trade cooperation around the globe, CPPIT strives to build a leading result-oriented think tank in the field of foreign trade and economic cooperation. CPPIT has been providing advices with regard to the implementation of major national strategies, the formulation of enterprise-related policies and the urgent needs of market players, with the aim of translating policy governance into real help for companies. CPPIT's well-known research works, such as the Belt and Road Country-specific legal research reports, the annual reports on the business environment of the EU and the U.S., and the Global Economic and Trade Friction Index Report, have been recognized by all parties. Attention on them and their influence continue to grow. CPPIT has been improving the allocation of resources from enterprises and experts, and completes quarterly research tasks or urgent assignments by using a variety of methods such as interviews, questionnaires and seminars. The rules on holding CPPIT's regular press briefings have been revised, with major work progress and important economic and trade activities being announced in a timely manner, so as to achieve good communication effects.

On May 18, 2022, President Xi Jinping delivered an important video speech at the Conference of the 70th Anniversary of CCPIT and Global Trade and Investment Promotion Summit, reiterating China's resolve to open up at a high standard and promoting the recovery of the world economy. President Xi also hoped that CCPIT could score still greater achievements in contributing to high-quality development and a new development paradigm in China and to an open world economy. These remarks have pointed out the way forward and provided fundamental guidelines for CPPIT's trade promotion work in the new era.

Standing at a new starting point, CPPIT will follow the key ideas, essential instructions and work requirements set out in President Xi's important video speech; deeply understand the historical, theoretical and international logic; stay committed to the goal of building a world-class trade promotion agency with Chinese characteristics; give full play to its advantages of connecting government and enterprises, China and the world, supply and demand. CPPIT will ride on the momentum; forge ahead and pursue excellence; create new segments of development; build new competitive advantages; put in place a dense service network; and enlarge China's circle of friends in the world. CPPIT will try to make a greater difference in China's grand journey of development and welcome the 20th CPC National Congress with outstanding achievements.

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