By Talibeh Hydara in Beijing
The Standard Newspaper was among hundreds of media organisations across the world that thronged the Great Hall of the people in Beijing, China, to provide coverage for the opening session of the 14th National People’s Congress, the top legislative body of the country.
The most important political event of China, the sessions review government’s report, budget, bills and elect officials for key state institutions.
Delivering the government’s work report on Sunday morning at the hall of over 3000 people, Li Keqiang, premier of the state council, said China intends to create a new pattern of development, hence its efforts in opening up to the wider world.
“We deepened reform and opening up across the board in an effort to create a new pattern of development. We further promoted supply-side structural reform and reforms to streamline government administration, delegate power, improve regulation, and upgrade services. Thanks to these endeavors, a notable improvement has been made in the business environment,” he noted.
The Premiere said China has made major strides easing and smoothening international trade, noting that connectivity has been boosted in the Belt and Road Initiative, which The Gambia signed up to.
“We advanced trials for innovative development of trade in services across the board and adopted the negative list for cross-border trade in services. With steady growth, imports and exports have bolstered China’s economic development. A total of 21 pilot free trade zones have been established in China, and steady strides have been made in the development of Hainan Free Trade Port. Across all localities, new approaches were developed to strengthen services for promoting foreign investment, and greater efforts were made to attract foreign investment and facilitate project implementation. With a large number of major foreign investment projects launched in our country over the past five years, China has remained a favored destination for overseas investment.
“We promoted high-quality Belt and Road cooperation. We remained committed to achieving shared growth through discussion and collaboration, observed market principles and international rules, and carried out a number of projects to boost connectivity and industrial capacity cooperation. Imports and exports between China and other BRI countries increased at an annual rate of 13.4 percent, and exchanges and cooperation between China and these countries registered steady progress in a wide range of areas, he said.
He added: “We provided guidance which ensured sound and orderly development of outbound investment, and we strengthened overseas risk prevention and control. Six free trade agreements were newly concluded or upgraded; and the share of trade with our free trade partners increased from 26 percent to around 35 percent of China’s total trade volume.
“We remained firm in upholding the multilateral trading regime and opposed trade protectionism. We properly handled economic and trade frictions and promoted trade and investment liberalization and facilitation,” he said.
The sessions continue as China, a country of over 1.4 billion people, makes policy decisions that will have impact on the rest of the world.