Open economy, IP rights pledge

BEIJING – China pledged on Sunday to press ahead with market opening and reforms while reiterating that it will treat domestic and foreign firms equally and protect intellectual property rights.

The pledge on reform and equal treatment came from Vice Premier Han Zheng, at a time there are increasing prospects of a trade war with the United States.

Mr Han, making his first speech since being named executive vice premier earlier this month, told the China Development Forum in Beijing that China needs to “open even wider to the outside world,” and would do so via its Belt and Road Initiative.

China is fully aware that economic globalization is “irreversible,” said Han, adding that unilateralism and trade protectionism served nobody’s interests.

Also at the forum, He Lifeng, chairman of the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), said China “will deepen supply-side structural reforms and work hard to eliminate ineffective supply”.

Earlier this month, the NDRC said China, the world’s biggest steel and coal producer, would cut its annual steel capacity by around 30 million tonnes and coal capacity by about 150 million tonnes this year.

China will also promote international capacity cooperation as part of its Belt and Road Initiative, which Beijing considers to be a modern-day ‘silk road’, and widen access to the Chinese market, including the financial, telecom and education sectors, Mr He said.