Last month, the 18th Central Committee of the Communist Party of China held its Third Plenary Session, and unveiled a new agenda to deepen reforms comprehensively in economic, political, cultural, social, ecological and other areas.
And decisive results are to be obtained in 2020. This comprehensively deepening reform will definitely have a profound impact on China’s economic and social development, and bring new opportunities to the world.
Since the reform and opening-up of 35 years ago, China has seen an average GDP growth of around 10 per cent and the livelihood of the Chinese people has improved remarkably. However, China is also facing tough problems and challenges such as unbalanced, uncoordinated, and unsustainable development, irrational industrial structure, environmental pollution and ecological deterioration, uncoordinated urban-rural and regional development, and inadequate social security network.
If these problems and challenges are not properly solved, China’s further development will be hindered, and it will be difficult for China to stride over the middle-income trap and accomplish the goal of building a moderately prosperous society, and great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation. China is now at a critical stage of development. Only by pushing forward reforms comprehensively, can we make further progress.
Development is still the solution to all the problems in China, and economic reform is the key to the entire reform drive. Keeping a proper relationship between the market and government remains the core. As is proven by both economic theories and practice, market is the most efficient way to allocate resources. China’s problem is that there is still direct involvement and intervention of government in resource allocation, which affects the smooth function of the market and hence restrains development. That’s why we have decided to leave the market to play the decisive role in resource allocation. Meanwhile, it has been proven by the experience of many countries that the government still plays an indispensable role in economic development, including maintaining a stable macro-economy, providing public service, supervising the market, and keeping market order.
By straightening out a proper relationship between market and government, the road map of China’s economic reform becomes clear. Unreasonable restrictions upon the non-public economy will be removed so as to improve the basic economic system where both public and non-public economy can have equal access to the market. China’s market rules will be more open, fair and transparent. Reforms of financial, fiscal and taxation system are also on the agenda. We will push forward urban-rural integration so that farmers can have equal opportunities to participate in and benefit from China’s modernization drive.
Meanwhile, China will open wider to the outside world. The service sectors such as finance, education, culture and health will enjoy an orderly opening-up to market access. Investment restrictions will be eased in fields such as nursery, pension, architectural design, accounting and auditing, trade and logistics, and e-commerce. Further liberalization will be achieved in the general manufacturing sector. The building of Free Trade Area will be accelerated and the opening of inland areas will be expanded.
As is proven by past experience, China, with a population of 1.3 billion and a weak economic base, has no choice but to stay committed to the road of development with its own characteristics on the way ahead. In addition to economic reform, we are determined to push forward reforms in political, cultural, social and ecological areas as well as in party building, so as to remove all institutional barriers hindering China’s development, to further emancipate people’s minds, and to develop productive forces. By doing so, we can unleash the dynamism of labour, knowledge, technology, management and capital, generate more social wealth and introduce new historic changes to China.
China’s sustainable and healthy development will no doubt create enormous business opportunities for Canada. It means a huge and stable market for Canada’s energy, minerals, agri-food and high-tech products. There will be more opportunities for cooperation in agriculture, information and telecommunication, new energy and environmental protection. Canada’s strong service industry can play to its strength to get more access to China’s service sector. Canadian enterprises are also welcome to take part in the development of China’s inland areas, whose prosperity and potential have already attracted worldwide attention.
Canada was one of the first Western countries to enter and benefit from China’s market after China kicked off the reform and opening-up policy in 1978. I hope Canada will again ride the tide of China’s new wave of reform and strengthen win-win cooperation with China in the future. Given the importance of our two economies in the world, I am sure that by moving forward shoulder to shoulder, we can together make new contribution to the development and prosperity of the world at large.
Zhang Junsai is China’s ambassador to Canada.