Travelers from home and abroad enjoy the sights of the Bund in Shanghai on Sept 27, 2018. (Photo: IC)
President Xi Jinping said that China will continue to improve its business environment, and experts and industry leaders at the second China International Import Expo said that more significant progress in this regard can be anticipated.
Xi said in his keynote speech at the opening ceremony of the second CIIE, which started in Shanghai on Tuesday, that the proper business environment provides the necessary conditions for enterprises to survive and thrive. China will continue to foster and enable a business environment that is based on market principles, governed by law and up to international standards, he said.
In the latest Doing Business 2020 report released by the World Bank on Oct 24, China's overall ranking rose to the 31st this year, up from the 46th a year ago. China is rated by the World Bank as one of the 10 economies making "the most notable improvement" over the past 12 months. Significant progress has been made in China in eight of the 10 gauges set by the World Bank, including easier taxpaying procedures, especially for small businesses, as well as trading across borders.
Jin Liqun, president of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, said at a parallel session about business environment that the World Bank's rating is an acknowledgment of progress. But more importantly, the China experience will be of great value to other developing countries.
To make the Chinese market friendlier to businesses, Jin suggested that governments at all levels ensure predictability, transparency and credibility of their policies.
British pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline's CEO Emma Walmsley said that not only is the government's effort in improving the business environment crucial, but companies' understanding and involvement in the local market is also indispensable. Companies should meet the demand of local customers, and they should support the growth of local industries, she said. That win-win situation will lay the groundwork for a better business environment, she said at the parallel session.
Fu Gangfeng, president of China COSCO Shipping, said opening-up is the theme of world development and no one economy can thrive on its own.
"The world calls for open spirits and rules, which are translated into friendly business environments. In this sense, all companies should go with the tide," he said.
Gary Clyde Hufbauer, senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics, said what China is doing now and can do more of in the future is to be more specific and business friendly in drafting regulations. China also should take a leadership role in initiating more international negotiations, he said.