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Xi's New Year speech draws praise


President Xi Jinping delivers his New Year speech on Monday in his office in Beijing. He said joint efforts are needed as China faces opportunities and challenges alike in 2019. [Photo/Xinhua]

World has seen China's acceleration of reform and its resolve to 'open ever wider', president says

What could China bring to the world in 2019? The answer, for Frenchman Nicolas Escamez, might be more imports of beef from France, given China's strong measures to boost opening-up.

Escamez, manager of the International Business Development Department of Terrena Group, said his company has a "pretty ambitious" goal to develop business in China after the country lifted the ban on French beef imports in July.

"All the products launched online are sold out," he told China Daily while talking about the company's Chinese market. China banned beef imports from France in 2001 when the European country was hit by an outbreak of mad cow disease.

The lift of the ban on French beef imports is among China's increasing efforts to boost opening-up, as pledged by President Xi Jinping in recent years. In his New Year speech, Xi also reaffirmed his commitment to deepening reform and opening-up.

The world has seen China's acceleration of reform and opening-up as well as its determination to carry it forward, he said.

"China's reforms will never stop, and its doors will only open ever wider," Xi said in the speech delivered on New Year's Eve.

China will continue to push ahead the building of Belt and Road Initiative projects this year, and it will continue to advocate for building a community with a shared future for mankind, Xi said.

Last year marked the 40th anniversary of reform and opening-up, and China launched more than 100 major reform measures and increased opening-up through such efforts as lowering import tariffs for vehicles, easing market access and facilitating investment.

China continued to reiterate its resolve to further deepen reform and expand opening-up in the new era by hosting the annual Boao Forum for Asia, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization Summit in Qingdao, the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation's Beijing Summit and the first China International Import Expo.

"We put China's proposals on the table and made our voice heard at these and other diplomatic events," Xi said, adding that he had visited five continents last year and China's circle of friends had been enlarged.

At a New Year gathering held by the country's top political advisory body on Saturday, Xi greeted in his speech the "friends of all countries who have cared for and supported China's reform and opening-up and modernization building".

"We showed our resolve to carry through the cause of reform and opening-up in the new era," Xi said.

Ruan Zongze, executive vice-president of the China Institute of International Studies, said the president's New Year speech sent a clear signal of increasing opening-up, which has great significance for not only China but also the whole world.

"The Belt and Road Initiative and the proposal to build a community with a shared future for mankind are most important and most practical measures taken by China to boost opening-up," he said.

Luigi Gambardella, president of ChinaEU, a Brussels-based international association focused on internet, telecommunications and technology, said Xi's speech laid out ambitious proposals for international cooperation "in an era in which multilateral trust is becoming less".

"I am confident that a brave and determined China, committed to further implementing reforms and opening its doors wider to the outside world, can only be good news and a great source of inspiration for other nations," he said.

Jon Taylor, a professor of political science of the University of St. Thomas in Houston in the United States, said, "I liked that Xi reiterated his pledge to cut taxes and fees in order to ease the burden on private enterprises."

In April, China will host the second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation, and the second China International Import Expo will be held later this year.

The forum represents greater opening-up by China, while the import expo will expand connections with the world, State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi said at a diplomatic symposium held in Beijing last month.

"They are China's important, practical contribution to the building of an open world economy," Wang said, adding that China will work with all other countries to expand common interests and share opportunities through openness and cooperation.

Ivona Ladjevac, head of the regional center for the Belt and Road Initiative at the Institute of International Politics and Economics in Belgrade, Serbia, said the BRI already has created visible effects in different regions.

Li Haidong, a professor of US studies at China Foreign Affairs University, said China's cooperation with emerging markets and developing countries will be enhanced this year.

"President Xi's speech has shown clearly that China will keep opening up in the following decades and achieve common prosperity through embracing the world," he said.

Cecily Liu in London and Tang Ying in Nairobi contributed to this story.

Source:China Daily  Editor:Lucky

(Source_title:Xi's New Year speech draws praise)