Chinese President Xi Jinping underscored advancing reform and opening-up in the southernmost province of Hainan when deploying an important national strategy for the island’s development.
Xi outlined the blueprint for Hainan in the next 30 years last Friday at a gathering celebrating the 30th anniversary of the founding of Hainan province and the Hainan Special Economic Zone.
Comprehensively deepening reform and opening-up of Hainan includes a cascade of measures, such as developing Hainan into a pilot free trade port and building it into a platform for global connectivity and integrated development.
These measures fully demonstrate that China is confident and determined to open up Hainan, and it is walking toward the world in a more confident and responsible gesture and benefiting the latter with its development opportunities.
A more open China will cement the international community’s faith in economic globalization and propel the construction of an open global economy.
Building a pilot free trade zone and a free trade port is an attempt for Hainan to explore a new way for development and build itself into a pilot ground for comprehensively deepening reform and opening-up, as it offers a strong hand to improve institutions and mechanisms, build a modern economic system and promote high-quality development.
China has established 11 pilot free trade zones in Shanghai, Guangdong, Tianjin and other cities and provinces. The zones have become places with the highest level of opening-up in the country.
The zones have made active exploration in various sectors, including reform of administrative institutions, investment management, trade facilitation and financial innovation, as well as accumulated and applied success experiences nationwide.
The Hainan pilot free trade zone, with a larger population and area than any of its kind in China, is certain to become an important window for China to communicate with the world in the new era.
The Chinese characteristics in the building of a free trade port in Hainan will be first reflected by the fact that tourism, modern services and high-end and new technology industry will be made a major pillar of Hainan’s economy, while intermediary trade and processing and manufacturing will not be a focus.
It will also be seen in the fact that the opening-up measures will be carried out step by step until a free trade policy system is built.
Moreover, in-depth studies on relevant policies will be conducted for risk prevention. Identification and prevention of major risks will be strengthened, and customs supervision will also be optimized.
The three aspects are a new practice and innovation of socialism with Chinese characteristics, and they will definitely provide important guidance to comprehensively deepening reform and opening-up.
Hainan, with a broad sea area and rich shoreline, islands, ports, biology and mineral resources, is an important window that China opens to the Pacific Ocean and the Indian Ocean.
Over the last 30 years after the founding of the Hainan Special Economic Zone, maritime resources have become Hainan’s most prominent feature and comparative advantage.
Hainan’s maritime economy has come to nearly 30 percent of the provincial GDP, creating a rapidly growing tourist number and industrial revenue. Besides, Hainan is also a place where important events have been held, such as the Boao Forum for Asia (BFA) annual conference.
To comprehensively deepen reform and expand opening-up in the new era, Hainan will give a bigger play to the role of its maritime resources by further exploring and releasing its potential in economy, opening-up and international cooperation and becoming strong depending on its ocean sources.
(By Bi Jiyao, deputy director of the Academy of Macroeconomic Research under the National Development and Reform Commission)