Li: China committed to opening-up

Country expected to remain a top choice for foreign investors

Premier Li Qiang waves to journalists as he arrives to address a news conference after the closing meeting of the first session of the 14th National People's Congress at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on Monday. (FENG YONGBIN / CHINA DAILY)

Opening-up is a basic State policy of China, and no matter how the external situation evolves the country will stay firmly committed to pursuing the policy, Li Qiang said at his first news conference as premier on Monday.

Experts and business leaders said the new premier's expounding on opening-up will boost market confidence, especially against the background of uncertainties in the global economy.

China is expected to remain a top choice for foreign investors, they also said.

After the 14th National People's Congress, the nation's top legislature, closed its first session, Li said that China will align with high-standard international economic and trade rules and further expand opening-up this year. The country will open wider and provide a better business environment and services, he said.

"China, which is open and in the constant process of development, welcomes everyone to invest and develop," Li said, adding that most foreign enterprises are still optimistic about their development prospects in China.

Wei Jianguo, vice-chairman of the China Center for International Economic Exchanges and a former vice-minister of commerce, said that as the nation continues to expand high-level opening-up, more development dividends will help propel the country's high-quality development and benefit domestic and overseas enterprises. Advances in institutional opening-up are happening in regard to rules, regulations, management and standards.

"China has been adopting multiple measures to increase the income of its people, stabilize the property market and further open up industries, including telecommunications, new energy, senior care and healthcare," Wei said. "That will create more development space for enterprises and attract more foreign investors."

Premier Li said that China's actual use of foreign capital in 2022 reached more than $189 billion, a record high. This demonstrated that China remains a very popular destination for foreign investment, he added.

Jean-Christophe Pointeau, president of Pfizer China, said the company has full confidence in the Chinese economy, which has strong resilience and enormous potential.

"We have witnessed and felt the Chinese government's determination to further expand high-level opening-up," Pointeau said. "Stable economic growth, a continuously optimized business environment and the launching of favorable policies in China have jointly encouraged multinational companies to invest more in the country.

"This has consolidated the confidence of many foreign pharmaceutical companies, including Pfizer, to deepen roots in China and integrate into China's economic development. The Chinese market is providing more and more opportunities and space for companies from all over the world," he added.

Pfizer has introduced over 60 innovative drugs to China since it entered the country around 30 years ago.

The company's global research and development team currently has 110 discovery projects, with Pfizer China actively participating in about 80 percent of the key trials in the United States and the European Union.

The premier also said that there is a lot China and the US can achieve by working together, while encirclement and suppression are in no one's interests.

He said that "China and the US can and must cooperate", and the two countries, which are closely intertwined economically, have benefited from each other's development.

Citing Chinese data, Li noted that bilateral trade rose to a record high of nearly $760 billion in 2022. "There are some people in the US who have been trumpeting decoupling with China in recent years. But I wonder how many people can truly benefit from this kind of hype," he said.

Citing his working experiences in Shanghai last year, Li said he talked with the senior managers of multinational corporations, including many US companies.

The premier said he learned that they were optimistic about the future of both the city and China.

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