China replies to unfairness with sci-tech self-reliance

 A view of the Lujiazui area in Shanghai, East China. [Photo/Xinhua]
Outlook: External oppression will only ‘motivate China’
Faced with the threats of “decoupling” and “breaking chains”, China is expected to intensify efforts to deepen its high-level opening-up policy while cementing self-reliance in key areas, an eminent member of the country’s academia said.
Such an approach is expected to help China make breakthroughs in resolving bottlenecks in major technologies and move up the global value chains, which in turn will help keep global industrial and supply chains stable and boost world economic recovery, said Zhao Zhongxiu, president of the University of International Business and Economics in Beijing, in an exclusive interview with China Daily.
His insight indicates China’s likely response to the rising protectionism that has been behind the profound reconstruction of global value chains in recent times. Zhao, who is also an expert on international trade, said such issues have spawned both challenges and opportunities for the Chinese economy.
“Since the outbreak of the global financial crisis that started in 2007, the global value chains have been rewiring and even contracting. … The reshaping of the global value chains has picked up momentum in recent years due to the combined influence of the COVID-19 pandemic and the China-United States trade disputes,” Zhao said.
Multinational corporations are increasingly concerned about their supply chain stability and are, therefore, shortening their value chains due to protectionist moves by some countries to encourage industrial reshoring, as well as the impact of the pandemic on the global economy, he said. “In such a situation, China may face an intensifying risk of its manufacturing industry moving out, but it may also see new opportunities to upgrade its economy.”
Zhao believes it is crucial for China to further its reform and opening-up policy in order to continuously enhance the domestic business environment and vitalize market entities, and in turn offset the impact of external negatives, as some countries are obsessed with excluding China from the global industrial and value chains to cap its rise.
“China must continue to firmly advocate multilateralism and an open world economy, with concrete actions to expand high-quality opening-up, deepen reform to enhance the socialist market economy and create a more enabling business environment.
“The vast, open and unified Chinese market is sure to provide even greater business opportunities for both Chinese and foreign enterprises, which will be beneficial to the whole world,” he said.
According to Zhao, China will likely play a bigger role in promoting fairer, more open, inclusive and sustainable global governance.
As the world’s second-largest economy, China has encountered rising containment attempts from the US in recent years, including those in advanced manufacturing and other high-end industries.
Apart from levying additional tariffs on a large number of Chinese products, the US has included many Chinese market entities on its export control list, imposed sanctions on Chinese enterprises and reportedly plans to ban US investment in some Chinese enterprises.
In particular, the US has strengthened its efforts to ally with other countries to curb the development of China’s chip industry.
While such external pressure has caused only limited disruptions to China’s industrial upgrade so far, it will likely create a paradoxical outcome. External oppression, Zhao said, will motivate China to increase its self-reliance in key areas, enhance the resilience of its industrial and supply chains, and proactively transform and upgrade the value chains with a digital and green approach.
Zhao’s view is in line with the report to the 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China in October. The report said the main objectives and tasks for the nation in the next five years include making breakthroughs in promoting high-quality economic development and achieving greater self-reliance and strength in science and technology.
The goals include making new strides in reform and opening-up, further improving the socialist market economy and putting in place new systems for a higher-standard open economy.
“China’s advance in institutional opening-up with regard to rules, regulations, management and standards will boost the productivity of the economy,” Zhao said, adding that rich experiences gathered from bold trials at pilot free trade zones and the Hainan Free Trade Port are expected to be promoted and applied in other parts of the country at a fast clip.
Executives of many companies around the globe acknowledge the benefits of globalization. Experts believe that stretching the concept of national security and distorting the global value chains will only harm everyone.
Cristiano Amon, president and CEO of US chip giant Qualcomm Inc, said in late March that the company, in providing technologies and semiconductors for wireless communications, power-efficient computing and artificial intelligence, has worked closely with other companies across industries around the globe, including those in China.
Such collaboration and cooperation, Amon said, is the way forward to innovate, advance the development of society and drive economic growth.
“Qualcomm has a long history in China that spans nearly three decades. We are proud of the deep relationships we have built over the past 30 years … and the new partnerships we are building today,” he added.

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