China takes steps to deepen reform, expand opening-up, advance Chinese modernization
Guangdong Province in South China is seen as a pacesetter of the country's reform and opening-up.
During his inspection tour of Guangdong from Monday to Thursday, Chinese President Xi Jinping stressed the importance of remaining steadfast in comprehensively deepening reform and expanding high-standard opening-up, and urged the province to take the lead in advancing Chinese modernization.
Calling mangrove forests a national treasure, Xi said, "We should protect mangrove forests like we protect our eyes."
As the country is advancing the progress of "ecological civilization," protecting wetlands, including the mangrove forests, is increasingly in the spotlight. According to official data released by the Chinese Ministry of Natural Resources, about 55 percent of the mangrove wetlands in China are under state protection, higher than the world average of 25 percent.
Data also shows that China's mangrove forests have increased from 22,000 hectares in 2001 to 27,000 hectares today, against the backdrop of global shrinkage.
China will build an international mangrove center in Shenzhen, President Xi said in a video speech at the opening ceremony of the 14th Meeting of the Conference of the Contracting Parties to the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands (COP14) last November.
'The door of China's opening-up will never shut'
On Wednesday, President Xi visited LG Display's manufacturing base in Guangzhou where he learned about Guangzhou's efforts to promote high-level opening-up and advance high-quality development in manufacturing, and how local enterprises boost innovation and build their own brands.
Amid sluggish global economic growth, China has accelerated the construction of a new development paradigm and improved its business environment, Xi pointed out, adding that China's market advantages will become more obvious.
He voiced the hope that foreign investors will seize the opportunity to come to China, to Guangdong and to the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, to be deeply rooted in the Chinese market and to create new glories for business development.
Under the policy of high-standard opening-up, China has issued a series of measures to level the playing field, so that foreign companies can enjoy a better business environment in the country.
Last year, China renewed the Catalogue of Industries Encouraged for Foreign Investment, which implemented provisional import tax rates lower than that of the most-favored nations for 1,020 commodities, and further reduced the most-favored-nation tariff rates for 62 IT products. Its overall tariff level will drop from 7.4 percent to 7.3 percent after the adjustment.
China has established various platforms to reach overseas companies, such as the China International Import Expo (CIIE), the China International Consumer Products Expo, and the China International Fair for Trade in Services.
In 2022, foreign direct investment (FDI) in the Chinese mainland, in actual use, increased by 8 percent year on year to $189.13 billion.
When visiting a research and development center of Guangzhou Automobile Group Co., Ltd., Xi also stressed China's reform and opening-up policy will remain unchanged for a long time and the door of China's opening-up will never shut.
"We are willing to meet halfway all countries that are willing to cooperate with us for a win-win outcome to promote the common prosperity and development of the world economy," said the Chinese president.
'Solid step by step'
President Xi also pledged solid efforts to advance the country's modernization drive during this inspection tour.
He visited a lychee orchard and a longan and lychee cooperative on Tuesday to learn about local efforts to develop a distinctive planting industry and advance rural revitalization at Baiqiao Village in Genzi Township, Gaozhou City of Maoming.
"To advance Chinese modernization, we must comprehensively promote rural revitalization and solve the problem of unbalanced development between urban and rural areas," Xi noted.
The integration of agriculture, e-commerce and tourism is a breakthrough for Baiqiao Village to realize rural revitalization. By 2022, the per capita income of villagers is estimated to be around 51,000 yuan ($7,410).
Xi told researchers, entrepreneurs, workers and representatives from the overseas-funded enterprises that Chinese modernization is based on China's realities, in line with its national conditions and with clear goals, plans and strategies.
"We shall work steadily, step by step, to move forward [Chinese modernization]," said Xi at the research and development center of Guangzhou Automobile Group Co., Ltd., adding that Chinese modernization is fundamentally different from the Western one, and China cannot take the path of Western modernization, which he said features polarization and plundering of other countries, since it will not work.
(Cover: Chinese President Xi Jinping talks with villagers at Baiqiao Village in Genzi Town, Gaozhou City of Maoming, south China's Guangdong Province, April 11, 2023. /Xinhua )