New drivers of growth will spearhead sustainable and fair development of China’s economy in the new era, said Li Keqiang, Premier of the People’s Republic of China, in his opening address at the 12th Annual Meeting of the New Champions.
“We are now seeing an encouraging shift from traditional drivers of growth to new ones,” he said. “In this process, new industries, new forms of business and new models have played a key role in keeping China’s economic performance stable.” He promised: “China will work even harder to stimulate innovation and new drivers of growth.”
To encourage growth from new channels, Premier Li announced that “We have written out massive measures to cut taxes and fees, to streamline administration, so that the market will be able to play its bigger role,” and that the Chinese government has “adopted a regulatory approach that has facilitated the boom of new industries.”
“We will more proactively leverage fiscal policy by further cutting taxes and fees,” he asserted, “in order to reduce the burden on companies and stimulate the market.”
“All companies, be they Chinese or foreign-owned, will be treated as equals,” Li reassured. “We will also create a better business environment and expand market access to foreign-owned companies … so they can compete on a level playing field in the Chinese market.”
A rules-based order will underlie these new growth drivers, said Li. “The government works to ensure that no bottom-line of laws or regulations will be crossed and all these malpractices of seeking illegal gains, putting lives and property in danger, or cheating and swindling, will be seriously dealt with in accordance with law.”
In particular, he stridently assured that “any theft of intellectual property rights – be it a Chinese company or a foreign company – will be dealt with seriously, with doubled or even tripled and unaffordable penalties.”
Addressing accusations of currency manipulation, Premier Li asserted that exchange rate fluctuations are categorically not an intentional measure. “Persistent depreciation of the RMB will only do more harm than good to our country,” he assured. “China will never go down the path of stimulating exports by devaluing its currency.”
“We have lowered the tariffs on consumer goods,” he added, “and we will introduce further measures to lower the import tariffs on some goods into China. The average tariff level will be further lowered and all these undue and unwarranted charges in the import processes will be further sorted out and cleared.”
“These new drivers of growth are in keeping with the trend of globalization,” Li stressed in his keynote speech, “and they are critical for inclusive development and growth.”
“It is essential that we uphold the basic principles of multilateralism and free trade,” he affirmed. “We believe these rules have, first and foremost, benefited the progress of all mankind and, for any existing problems, they need to be worked out through consultation. No unilateralism offers a viable solution.”
Introducing Premier Li, Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum, warned that “Globalization has now been put into question. This has led to a revival of protectionist policies, and is putting international trade agreements and the institutions responsible for globalization at risk.”
“We need more globalization, not less globalization,” he held forth, emphasizing that “We should use our energies to rebuild a revitalized, balanced and inclusive global architecture” in a world transformed by the new technologies of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
To this end, Schwab announced the opening of a Centre for the Fourth Industrial Revolution integrated into the Beijing Representative Office of the World Economic Forum, part of a network of such centres to promote global technology cooperation and advance common principles.
“We are now standing at a crossroads,” opined Premier Li. “A crossroads facing a choice between globalization or de-globalization. We are encouraged to see the trend of globalization continue to forge ahead at its own pace.”