Hong Kong should value opportunities brought by China's reform
【譯文】In early August, the State Council has released plans to establish new pilot free trade zones (FTZs) in six provinces, including Shandong and Guangxi. In full demonstration of the nation's confidence and determination, China will firmly expand its reforms to open up the country to the outside world in accordance with its development needs and established principles. The pace and intensity of the reforms will not be thwarted by the China-US trade war, nor will China shut itself off from the outside world. The new expansion drive of the country's all-round opening will bring great opportunities to Hong Kong. Hong Kong must return to the normal track as soon as possible if we were to prepare ourselves for future development opportunities.
Ever since China launched its first pilot FTZs in 2013, 12 FTZs have been established in regions such as Shanghai, Guangdong, Tianjin, etc. Following the establishment of the six new FTZs located in Shandong, Jiangsu, Guangxi, Hebei, Yunnan, and Heilongjiang, the all-around drive to open up the country has now stretched to all directions. The resultant deeper, wider, and multi-layered exploration could better serve the overall strategic layout of China's opening-up.
Ever since the trade war erupted between China and the United States, many have worried that China will slow down its pace in the opening-up of the country. This kind of concern is clearly originated from the lack of understanding in China's resolve to maintain high-quality development and opening-up. In fact, not only the China-US trade war has not shaken China's determination to expand its reforms, it has also done the opposite and made China even more committed. For instance, the new Foreign Investment Law was enacted this year. An updated set of negative lists for foreign investment market access were also issued on 30 June, of which the agricultural, mining, manufacturing, and business service sectors were no longer restricted to foreign investments. On 10 July, the State Council continued to explore the possibility of reducing import tariffs while raising export tax rebates during its weekly executive meetings. On 6 August, the Lingang expansion of the Shanghai FTZ was officially unveiled.
These new measures are showing that China is steadily advancing its connection to the outside world, and that it is enhancing its influence and competitiveness among the international community. Just as Vice-Premier Liu He said in Chongqing at the 2019 Smart China Expo, "China shall continue to promote the development of the intelligent industry under open conditions. We strongly oppose technology blockades and protectionism. China welcomes enterprises from all over the world, including the United States, to invest and operate in China. The country will continue to create an appealing investment environment."
Moreover, the newly established FTZs are going to strengthen the country's grand strategy of trade liberalisation. For example, The Shandong FTZ will push forward economic cooperation among China, Japan and South Korea. Meanwhile, the Guangxi FTZ will be a pilot zone of cooperation with the ASEAN region, and a western land-sea corridor. As for the Yunnan FTZ, it will promote the expansion of a major international corridor connecting South Asia with Southeast Asia.
As the ASEAN region has overtaken the United States as the second-largest trading partner of China, the deepening cooperation with ASEAN will be the new trend of the country's opening-up to the outside world. The establishment of the Guangxi and Yunnan FTZs and the increase in opening up to ASEAN will help expand China's market and reduce the adverse impact of the China-US trade war.
All of the newly established FTZs have arrangements to encourage cooperation with Hong Kong. Shandong, Jiangsu, Guangxi and Yunnan will allow Hong Kong professionals to work in FTZs; Guangxi will open a green channel facilitating Hong Kong talents to work and start businesses in FTZs, while Shandong and Jiangsu will allow Hong Kong people to set up wholly-owned medical institutions.
Recently, officials of the Qianhai Shenzhen-Hong Kong Modern Service Industry Cooperation Zone have also announced that they will earmark 140 million yuan this year, in an effort to support young people from Hong Kong and Macau to develop in Qianhai. Various degree of assistance will be provided to young Hong Kong and Macau entrepreneurs depending on their progress. These arrangements show that China has not forgotten Hong Kong in its opening-up.
Hong Kong has long been the world's gateway to China. As China accelerates its opening-up to the outside world, Hong Kong will soon embrace a new stage for development. In face of this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, Hong Kong should stop the violence and restore law and order as soon as possible, so that we could all share the dividends of the nation's development by playing our part.■Jeffrey Tse
2. 東南亞國家聯盟 (東盟)
3. 中華人民共和國國家發展和改革委員會 (發改委) 4. 腹地 5. 一帶一路
1. State Council
2. Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)
3. National Development and Reform Commission of the People's Republic of China 4. hinterland(s) 5. the Belt and Road Initiative