BEIJING, April 11 (Xinhua) -- This year marks the 40th anniversary of China's groundbreaking reform and opening-up. The long-held policy not only brings China rapid and sustainable development, but also enables the country to have contributed greater momentum to the global economy.
Over the past 40 years, China's GDP has averaged an annual growth rate of around 9.5 percent in comparable prices. The country's foreign trade has also registered an annual growth of 14.5 percent in the U.S. dollar, Chinese President Xi Jinping said Tuesday in Boao, a town in southern island province of Hainan.
"China's reform and opening-up meets its people's aspiration for development, innovation and a better life. It also meets the global trend toward development, cooperation and peace," Xi said in a keynote speech at the opening ceremony of the Boao Forum for Asia (BFA) Annual Conference.
CHINESE MODEL DRIVES ECONOMIC GLOBALIZATION
Before heading for China to attend this year's BFA, United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said the achievements China made through reform and opening-up show that the country has successfully driven economic globalization. He stressed that China's economic development would remarkably propel the global economy.
Every year, the BFA is expected to gather thousands of participants from around the world to offer advice on cooperation, development and prosperity.
Boao, a traditional fishing town drastically changed into a well-known diplomatic destination as a permanent venue for the annual forum, has witnessed the great leap that China made through reform and opening-up over the past 40 years.
So far, it's widely acknowledged that China's comprehensive and deepening reform and opening-up has provided the world with a major economic locomotive, as it has given fresh impetus to the global economy through a set of pragmatic programs, of which the most representative one is the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).
Overseas experts and China watchers agree that Asia is currently leading the world economy with China's contribution of a large part of global economic growth.
"It is very well-timed to propose opening-up and innovation as key words (in the BFA) given Asia now is leading the world economy," said Kim Young-ju, chairman of the Korean International Trade Association, in a recent interview with Xinhua.
Kim said China has helped build the world economic order and global governance by creating an economic model of reform and opening-up. He expressed the hope that China would contribute to further global growth by deepening its reform and opening-up.
He noted that the economic model China has devised is represented by the BRI and the establishment of the Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank to support the initiative.
The "BRI's format follows that used in China's development," according to a pre-conference report jointly composed by the BFA and Deloitte, a UK-incorporated multinational accounting and consulting firm.
The "BRI's initial focus was on energy and infrastructure; it is now widening to trade, manufacturing, the Internet and tourism," said the report.
"Multinational corporations with competitive advantages are winning BRI-related deals, and we predict more will do so in the near future," the report noted.
BRI TO ADVANCE REFORM, OPENING-UP
To date, more than 40 Asian countries have joined the BRI, and some have dovetailed their national development strategies with the initiative.
In 2017, China's trade volume with BRI countries grew by 14.8 percent year-on-year, reaching 1.18 trillion dollars, according to latest statistics from China's Ministry of Commerce.
Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte hailed the connection set up through the BRI between China and his country as "a symbol of intensifying China-Dutch relations." Rutte noted that Dutch companies have been keenly interested in the BRI, especially since it involves enormous investment in infrastructure.
"This is where Dutch companies can assist China with their strong expertise in fields like maritime logistics and port development, as well as rail and road construction and sustainability," he told Xinhua.
Last month, the first direct train connecting Amsterdam and Yiwu City in eastern China under the Belt and Road framework left the Dutch capital for the Chinese trading hub. A direct rail service linking Rotterdam and Tilburg in the Netherlands and Chengdu in southwest China has been in operation for nearly two years.
Gamal Bayoumi, head of the Cairo-based Arab Investors Union, also hailed China as a significant stabilizer in global trade, especially for developing countries.
"We encourage this role and we hope that China's economic growth rate remains high because it benefits the economies of many developing states," Bayoumi told Xinhua recently.
FURTHER OPENING UP OF CHINESE MARKET
As the largest emerging economy, China kept a medium-high economic growth rate of 6.9 percent in 2017, contributing approximately one third of global economic growth and continuously acting as the largest contributor to the global economy, according to a report released at a press conference of the BFA annual conference on Sunday.
In doing so, China has vowed to further open its economy with concrete measures to promote the common prosperity of China and the world.
China will improve the investment environment for foreign investors, significantly lower the import tariffs for vehicles and reduce import tariffs for some other products this year, Xi said in his keynote speech.
"We will take the initiative to expand imports," Xi said. "We have a genuine desire to increase imports and achieve greater balance of international payments under the current account."
(Yoo Seung-ki in Seoul, Liu Fang in The Hague also contributed to the story.)