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General Secretary Xi Jinping Chairs Symposium with Entrepreneurs

2020/07/23

On the afternoon of 21 July, Xi Jinping, General Secretary of the CPC Central Committee, President of China and Chairman of the Central Military Commission, chaired a symposium with entrepreneurs in Beijing and made important remarks. He stressed that since the start of the reform and opening-up program, China has established and improved its socialist market economy step by step. The market system has kept growing, and entities of various types have thrived. The massive impact of COVID-19 on the Chinese and world economy has put many market players under unprecedented pressure. As market entities demonstrate the strength of the economy, what supports them would in effect support social productivity. Every effort must be made to protect and invigorate market entities, promote entrepreneurship, and encourage businesses to play a bigger role and pursue greater success, which will provide a sustained driving force for economic development.

After listening to the views of the participants, Xi made some important remarks. He said that thanks to the concerted efforts of the whole nation, China’s response to COVID-19 has yielded strategic results and the Chinese economy is steadily turning for the better. China is among the first to contain the virus and achieve economic recovery, and things are getting better than expected. He encouraged all to have confidence and take challenges head on in order to make up for the damage caused by COVID-19 and strive for a good economic performance for the whole year.

Xi noted the crucial role of market entities in national development as the main participants of economic activities, main providers of job opportunities, and main drivers of technological advances. In response to COVID-19, market entities of all types have followed the leadership of the central and local party committees and governments and taken an active part in the people’s war against the virus. While striving to overcome hardships and keep themselves afloat through cooperation and coordination, they have also provided strong material support for the nationwide efforts to bring the virus under control.

Xi expressed his heartfelt appreciation to SOEs, private companies, companies invested by Hong Kong, Macao, Taiwan and foreign entities, and self-employed individuals for their contribution to China’s COVID-19 response and its economic and social development.

Xi stressed the unequivocal direction given by the CPC Central Committee to ensure stability in employment, finance, foreign trade, foreign investment, domestic investment and market expectations and to maintain security in six priority areas including operations of market entities. On top of the policy measures already unveiled by local governments and relevant departments to protect and support market entities, more policy support is needed to energize market entities and enable them to not only survive for the time being but also thrive in the future. Xi gave several specific instructions.

First, it is important to fully implement policies designed to provide relief and benefits to businesses. China will pursue a more proactive and impactful fiscal policy and a more prudent and flexible monetary policy and ensure that its macro policies are more targeted and implemented in a more timely manner. Further cuts will be made on taxes, fees, rents and interest rates borne by businesses. Relief measures must go through to the primary-level governments and directly benefit market entities. Stronger financial support should be given to market entities, including through the development of inclusive financing. Efforts are needed to help market certain products originally made for export for domestic consumption instead.

Second, it is important to foster a business environment that is market-oriented, law-based and up to international standards. The Civil Code and other relevant laws and regulations must be properly enforced to protect the property rights of businesses of different ownerships — SOEs, private companies and foreign-invested companies alike, and their right to manage and operate business independently. To further ease market access and facilitate trade and investment, China will work to ensure the application of the negative list system for market access in all sectors and all localities and good implementation of the Foreign Investment Law.

Third, it is important to keep a cordial and clean relationship between government and businesses. Officials at all levels must uphold honesty and integrity in their engagement with enterprises. They should reach out to entrepreneurs to learn about their concerns, listen extensively to their views and suggestions before formulating enterprise-related policies, and at the same time, reject power-for-money deals, commercial bribery and other malpractices that compromise government-business relations and poison the business environment. The government should provide more high-quality public services to support entrepreneurs with long-term business vision in their efforts to take root and pursue greater success in the Chinese market.

Fourth, high priority must be given to supporting self-employed individuals. More direct and effective policy support should be given to them to help overcome difficulties in paying rent, taxes and fees, and social insurance and access to finance.

Xi said that a great number of entrepreneurs with bold vision and innovative spirit have emerged since the start of reform and opening-up. They have become world-class entrepreneurs with distinct features of our times and of the Chinese nation. In order to lead their businesses out of the current difficulties and toward a brighter future, entrepreneurs must promote entrepreneurship, be more patriotic and innovative, uphold integrity, fulfill social responsibility, and develop a global vision. With these improvements, they will be the force driving the country’s endeavors to open up new vistas of development, build a modernized economic system and achieve high-quality development in the new era.

Xi urged entrepreneurs to forge a stronger sense of patriotism. They should grow their businesses in the broader context of China’s pursuit of prosperity and rejuvenation and the well-being of the people. They should live up to their responsibility and help address the country’s worries. They should lead their businesses to strive for world-class performance, in order to achieve higher-quality, more efficient growth and greater competitiveness and influence.

Xi urged entrepreneurs to be more innovative. They should be the trail blazer, the convening force and the leading player in promoting innovation-driven development. They are encouraged to explore new ways in production organization, technology and market, and promote R&D and human-capital investment to tap into employees’ creativity and turn their businesses into powerful entities of innovation.

Xi urged entrepreneurs to lead by example in upholding integrity and observing the obligation to abide by the law, to raise moral standards and advocate positive lifestyles.

Xi urged entrepreneurs to take up their social responsibility, strive to keep their payrolls stable, and provide more care and support to their employees so that their businesses and employees will tide over difficulties together.

Xi also urged entrepreneurs to think globally while ensuring solid performance at home. They should enhance the ability to stay ahead of the curve and better understand the demand and rules in the international marketplace. They should better explore and forestall risks of the world market. With such abilities, they will be better-positioned to lead their firms toward further growth as the country opens up further.

Xi emphasized that with an external environment characterized by rising protectionism, global economic recession, and a shrinking international market, we must pool resources and focus on managing our own affairs well. We should give full play to the strengths of our huge domestic market, and gradually create new development dynamics in which domestic and foreign markets can boost each other, with the domestic market as the mainstay. Efforts should be made to modernize the industrial and supply chains, promote sci-tech innovation, strive for early breakthroughs in core technologies, and build up new strengths for future development.

Xi underscored that taking the domestic market as the mainstay does not mean running our economy behind closed doors. Instead, it means to tap into the potential of domestic demand and better integrate the domestic and foreign markets. This way, we can make better use of resources of both markets to achieve more robust and sustainable development.

Xi pointed out that in the long run, economic globalization remains the prevailing theme of our times, and mutually-beneficial division of labor among countries represents the long-term trend. We must stand on the right side of history, press ahead with reform and opening-up and promote greater openness and cooperation in science and technology in order to build an open world economy and a community with a shared future for mankind.

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