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2018 State Affairs Forum Eyes a New Round of Reform and Opening up

Date: 2018-09-21



On 20 and 21 September, the COSC, CSOAR, CSOER and Xinhuanet jointly organized the 2018 State Affairs Forum in Beijing. The title this year is Furthering Reform and Opening-up at the New Starting Point. This is a picture of the forum underway. 
 

Xinhua News Agency-On 20 and 21 September, the Counsellor’s Office of the State Council (COSC), China Society of Administrative Reform (CSOAR), China Society of Economic Reform (CSOER), and Xinhuanet jointly organized in Beijing the 2018 State Affairs Forum, titled “Furthering Reform and Opening-up at the New Starting Point”. The keynote speaker was Mr. Gu Shengzu, Vice Chairman of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference and Executive Vice Chairman of the China National Democratic Construction Association. Other speakers included Mr. Ma Jiantang, Secretary of the CPC Committee of the Development Research Center of the State Council (DRCSC), Deputy Director of the DRCSC, and President of CSOAR, and Mr. Wang Zhongwei, Secretary of the CPC Committee in the COSC and Chairman of the COSC, and Mr. Peng Sen, President of CSOER. A total of 400 guests, including heads of department in the State Council, senior officials in international organizations, counsellors and contract research fellows of the COSC, consellors of governments at sub-national levels, academics, business leaders, and media representatives. Mr. Zhao Bing, member of the CPC Committee in the COSC and Deputy Director of the COSC hosted the opening ceremony.
 
Mr. Gu Shengzhu said in the speech that the Chinese economy in the new era is defined by the transition from high-speed growth to high-quality growth powered by innovation. Since China started reform and opening up, its capacity for technological innovation has grown tremendously, yielding a number of remarkable results. However, there remain some sore points. In terms of innovation, institutions must go before technologies, talents before R&D, and an enabling environment before putting together all the factors. Government and the market must each play their due role. The market should be decisive in allocating innovation resources; and the government focuses on institutional building that supports innovation, creating a favorable environment, and stepping up input into the public good of scientific research to bring out the vigor of innovation in full.
 
Mr. Ma Jiantang noted that administrative reform is an important part of China’s reform and opening up drive in the past 40 years. There have been historic changes. The government is interfering much less in the micro-economy, businesses are standing more firmly as the key players in market competition, and the market is having an increasingly decisive role in resources allocation. He called for greater determination and strength and more solid steps in administrative reform following the guidance of the Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era. In particular, transforming the functions of the government should be the focus in order to further streamline the government and delegate powers.
 
Mr. Wang Zhongwei pointed out that government counsellors, in offering their advice, need to fully appreciate the Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era to make sure their advice is in the right direction. Counsellors should adopt the people-centered approach, be honest and innovative, and stay sensitive to the developments around the world in order to generate more ideas. Counsellors are expected to give practical advice on how to reduce costs, increase opportunities, and encourage innovation. Standing at a new staring point, counsellors should make new contribution to the further liberation of the way of thinking, greater reform and opening up, and real progress in the country.
 
Mr. Peng Sen underlined the importance of liberating the way of thinking in deepening various kinds of reforms and making breakthroughs. To set out again on this journey, it is crucial to keep strategic patience and focus on managing China’s own affairs well. Decisive progress should be made in the key areas and links of reform. Reform should be a source of power and efficiency for China to stay strong in international competition. 
 

The forum was also attended by senior officials of the World Bank and the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). Mr. Mahmoud Mohieldin, Senior Vice President of the World Bank Group noted China’s reforms in improving the business environment in recent years. He said the World Bank stands ready to further its cooperation with China to help the country spread advanced technologies and management practices and build an economy stronger in innovation and competition. In his video message, Mr. Francis Gurry, Director General of WIPO, commended China's commitment to multilateralism and international cooperation in the field of intellectual property and to the protection and promotion of intellectual property. He recognized China as a big country in intellectual property and looked forward to China's leadership in responding to the policy challenges in intellectual property worldwide.
 
Reform is a never-ending process. This forum foucused on four topics, namely business environment, quality manufacturing, welfare challenges, and new meansures for opening-up. In addition, counsellors organized a special discussion on pooling ideas for a new round of reform and opening up.