China will try to negotiate and sign more free trade agreements (FTAs), closely examine the criteria to join Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) and accelerate negotiations on the China-Japan-S. Korea FTA, as the country continues to build up an open and innovative economy under the "dual circulation" economic strategy, according to a senior trade official.
The country on Thursday formally applied to join the CPTPP, another important step in the country's commitment to global trade liberalization after the signing of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) in November 2020.
"China will continue to promote a higher degree of opening-up," Chinese Commerce Minister Wang Wentao wrote in an article published in the People's Daily on Wednesday.
He said the country will move to cut the negative list for foreign investment, carry out the Foreign Investment Law and its implementing regulations, innovatively upgrade national economic development and continuously improve market-oriented, international and law-based business environment.
Wang said the commerce ministry encourages local governments to expand opening-up and build up comparative industry strengths, and steadily boost the construction of the Hainan free trade port.
Opening-up will create new advantages for the "dual circulation" strategy, contributing to industrial and consumption upgrade, the minister said.
Wang's comments reflect the newest manifestation of China's policy guidelines. While keeping China open to the world trade under the "international circulation," it requires building a stronger consumption market at home to expand "domestic circulation," with the aim of making the Chinese economy more resilient to outside shocks.
"We will expand home consumption and invigorate commodity logistics to build domestic market into a giant 'magnet' that attracts outside investment," Wang said, noting that the Chinese economy is increasingly driven by consumption.
Currently, China's reliance on foreign trade is comparatively high at 31.5 percent, compared with the US' 18.2 percent and Japan's 25.6 percent.
Recent statements by leading officials have underlined the need to rapidly improve the resilience and safety of industrial supply chains, as the momentum for global circulation has weakened due to the global pandemic and a resurgent anti-globalization trend, according to Wang.
In 2020, the world economy contracted by 3.3 percent, with global cargo trade volume down 7.6 percent and international direct investment plunging 42 percent.