What to expect from China's Two Sessions in 2019?
Updated 07:27, 03-Mar-2019
Dialogue with Yang Rui
‍Thousands of representatives and top officials will be gathering in Beijing for the biggest annual political meetings in China, Lianghui, known in English as the "Two Sessions". A series of bills and laws will be discussed and decided on following a speech from the president and the premier's report on government work.
Last month, the State Council released the No. 1 Document of 2019, keeping the focus on China's rural areas and the people who live there. It reflects the government's intention to keep working on poverty alleviation, to maintain an effective supply of key agricultural products and to improve the living environment and public services in rural areas.
Wang Huiyao, the president of the Center for China and Globalization, concluded that 2018 was a year of China that saw not only significant progress but also the pressure of Sino-U.S. trade tension. "What I think is really important about this Lianghui is that, 2018 was a year with remarkable progress, setbacks, and also, possibly, a lot of rethinking about, particularly, this trade tension between China and the U.S. as well."
Speaking of the expectations for the Lianghui in 2019, Wang pointed out that confidence and trust are two of the greatest concerns for investment in China. In addition, he emphasized that the Foreign Investment Law in China is likely to draw huge attention from the world, especially on the issues of equal treatment between foreign and local companies.
"People are looking for confidence, looking for trust, and looking for sound government policy speeches delivered in the working report by Premier Li Keqiang to talk about the new target set," stated Wang.
According to Wang, there'll be new laws and new legislation in the making. One of the particular is the Foreign Investment Law, which is not just widely anticipated by China but also the whole world, which is interested in seeing how foreign investment and companies will be treated in China, and whether they're going to be treated equally to local companies.
Edward Lehman, the managing director of Lehman, Lee & Xu, stated that the Chinese government has endeavored to cut red tape on what's necessary to boost business and economic growth. He referred to the pilot program in Beijing regarding the service industry and highlighted the immense potential in terms of healthcare services for older people with a population of 230 million in total.
"Foreign Investment Law hopefully will put on more equal footing with the local companies, but it's not even so much that it's actually having the time to be able to incorporate a company which is quite difficult. In the U.S., for example, it can be done in a day. In China, it takes longer time because of the way the legal system is set up. So I think it's a huge burden for the ruling party to be able to guarantee economic prosperity and growth." Lehman said.
"They are clever in as much as they move towards like a pilot program here in Beijing in the services industry, a wide range of financial services. They are looking for healthcare services as there are about 240 million people who would be considered older in China, and they need services as well," he added. "So I think all these legislations are moving in that direction. China has not just been the workshop to the world, but also has to be providing services."
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