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President Xi inspects Hainan province

Hainan free trade port underscores nation's resolve to open up more: China Daily editorial

chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2022-04-15


A view of Sanya Bay in Hainan province. [Photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn]

For those who still doubt whether China will continue to carry out reform and opening-up to the outside world, they need to look at no other place than Hainan.

The central authorities decided to develop the island province into a pilot free trade zone in 2018, and in June 2020 unveiled a master plan to build it into a globally influential and high-level free trade port by the middle of this century.

Since then, Hainan has moved onto a fast track of high-quality and high-standard development, thanks mostly to a batch of preferential policies such as zero tariffs, duty-free shopping and easing market access for foreign investors.

As a result, its foreign trade has more than doubled from 70.28 billion yuan ($11.04 billion) in 2017 to 147.68 billion yuan in 2021; and foreign direct investment has amounted to $8.81 billion, with an annual growth rate of 79.4 percent over the past four years.

All this underscores China's resolve to continue to expand its opening-up for mutual benefits and win-win results with the rest of the world.

Which explains why President Xi Jinping has put high expectations on Hainan becoming a paradigm of reform and opening-up in the new era of China's development.

During a four-day inspection tour that concluded on Wednesday, President Xi also called for efforts to accelerate the development of Hainan into a free trade port with Chinese characteristics and global influence.

Both the Chinese and the world economy have experienced mounting difficulties over the past few years, accentuated by rising protectionism and an anti-globalization trend, as well as the COVID-19 pandemic.

Yet rather than closing its doors, the country is implementing a new round of high-level reform and opening-up, and it continues to forge ahead against the headwinds so as to explore new development opportunities and inject new synergy to help propel a global economic recovery.

Hainan, on the front line of China's integration into the global economic system, has served as a pioneer in that regard. A law on the Hainan Free Trade Port was passed in June last year, making institutional arrangements for building the free trade port at the national legislative level.

The law, which establishes policies and systems in steps or phases to realize the liberalization and facilitation of trade, investment and cross-border capital flows, among others, has enabled Hainan to play a more important role in the country's reform and opening-up.

As the world's second-largest economy, China's continuous in-depth reform and proactive expansion of high-standard opening-up will instill more confidence in the world economy and global cooperation.