President Xi Jinping renewed China's pledge to work with other nations in upholding true multilateralism and promoting the development of a high-level open world economy as he congratulated the opening of the 130th session of the China Import and Export Fair on Thursday.
In a message sent to the fair, also known as the Canton Fair, Xi encouraged it to develop itself into a key platform for the nation to promote across-the-board opening-up and high-quality growth of international trade, and to connect domestic and international markets.
He commended the fair, first held 65 years ago, for making important contributions to serving international trade, promoting domestic and international connectivity and spurring economic growth.
Against a backdrop of major changes unseen in a century, a global pandemic and profound reforms regarding international trade, the fair should serve the nation's fostering of a new development paradigm, innovate its mechanisms, enrich its models and expand its functions, he said.
In a keynote speech delivered at the opening of the fair in Guangzhou, Guangdong province, Premier Li Keqiang called on nations to uphold openness and cooperation to jointly promote economic recovery.
It is important to uphold free trade, enhance policy coordination, bolster the production and supply of bulk commodities and key components, ensure smooth international logistics and safeguard the smooth and steady functioning of global industry and supply chains, Li said.
He said China is both capable and confident of achieving the goals and completing the tasks set for this year, with the nation's economic growth showing strong resilience and vitality.
China's economy is on track for a sustained and stable recovery, and its major indicators are now within an appropriate range, he said, adding that the nation will continue expanding imports of high-quality products and services and maintain the consistency and stability of its foreign trade policies.
Beijing will accelerate the innovative growth of the foreign trade sector and establish a group of new pilot zones for cross-border e-commerce before the end of the year, Li said.
He also highlighted the need to accelerate the growth of new business models, including overseas warehouses, and to develop smart logistics platforms overseas.
Beijing will work to strengthen international cooperation in digitalized trade and develop a host of leading areas for digitalized global trade in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area and other regions, he added.
China will further shorten the negative list for foreign investment and keep lowering the threshold for market access for the services sector, he said.
Li reiterated the nation's commitment to fostering a market-oriented, world-class business environment governed by a sound legal framework, saying that China will always strive to make itself a top attraction to foreign investment.
The government will see to it that foreign businesses can enjoy equal treatment to their domestic counterparts in terms of obtaining production elements, certifications, licensing, the drafting of standards and government procurements, he said.
Foreign businesses will receive greater support for their investment in sectors including medium- and high-end manufacturing and modern services as well as to central and western regions, he said, adding that they will receive equal treatment in terms of land use and environmental impact assessment.
Li pledged to strengthen antitrust efforts and crack down on infringements of intellectual property rights in a bid to ensure a level playing field for domestic and foreign businesses.
This year's fair attracted over 7,800 businesses to take part in its offline exhibitions, with about 26,000 businesses and buyers taking part in exhibitions online.
Harley Seyedin, president of the American Chamber of Commerce in South China, said that he is pleased to visit the exhibition area in person this time, adding that the Canton Fair has not only been instrumental in the growth of China-US business, but has also served as an important tool for bilateral trade.
Zhou Mi, a senior researcher at the Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation in Beijing, said the Canton Fair, one of the most important platforms for China to propel foreign trade, has also become an important barometer of global trade activity.
"The fair is of greater significance this year, as it comes when the nation needs to strengthen interaction with the rest of the world to jointly stabilize and optimize global supply chains, while pushing forward innovation to revamp domestic economic development toward a greener and more low-carbon pathway," he said.