19th CPC National Congress signals broader opening-up for new era
Chinese President Xi Jinping has said that “China will not close its door to the world” and “it will only become more and more open” in his report to the 19th National Congress of Communist Party of China last week. 
 
While the meaning is obvious that China will keep opening its market to more foreign investments like it has done over the past 30 years, there are some new implications of the statement as the country has entered into a “new era”.
 
First, it implies a move from “one-way” investment to “two-way” investment. While China’s “opening” in most cases referred to attracting more foreign capital into the country in the past, the country is now also encouraging Chinese enterprises to invest overseas. 
 
According to Ning Jizhe, the director of the National Development and Reform Commission, while China is among the top countries in attracting foreign capital, it has also become a large foreign investor. Chinese overseas investment has reached $1,360 billion and 37,200 Chinese enterprises have invested overseas by the end of 2016. China’s overseas investment in 2016 hit $196.2 billion, making it the second-largest source of foreign direct investment (FDI) in the year. 
 
Second, it means a transition from preferential policy to equality. In order to encourage foreign enterprises to invest in China, China has adopted many preferential policies for foreign firms in exchange for advanced technology or capital. But now that the country is also promoting outward overseas investment, China has begun to emphasize equal treatment of foreign and domestic firms. President Xi has mentioned in his report that China will treat every foreign firm that has registered in the country as equal without any preference or discrimination. This means that China’s state-owned enterprises, private enterprises and foreign firms will compete with each other under the same conditions.  
 
Third, it means a switch from partial to all-round opening-up. Xi said in his speech that China hopes to make new ground in opening up the Chinese market further through links running eastward and westward, across land and over sea. In an interview with the sino-us.com, Xu Dazhe, governor of Hunan province, said that an inland province like Hunan must use a project like the Belt and Road Initiative to attract foreign capital while encouraging its own enterprises to go global. 
 
The “all-round” opening-up also involves the defense sector which used to be fully closed. 
 
“As Chinese military has become more active than ever on the international stage, it also participates in various military exchanges with other countries more frequently,” said Liu Fang, officer of the Office for International Military Cooperation of the Central Military Commission. 
 
Fourthly, its means moving from a China-oriented to world-oriented opening-up. While China’s opening-up focused on China’s economic and social development in the past, it now focuses on linking China’s own development with the whole world’s development. Under the Belt and Road Initiative, the world will become a “community of common destiny”, and “the new type of international relations” featuring win-win cooperation will also become a new feature of globalization.  

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