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Li Keqiang Meets and Holds Discussion with Overseas Delegates to Annual Conference of China Development Forum 2014

In the afternoon of March 24, 2014, Premier Li Keqiang met in the Great Hall of the People with overseas delegates attending the annual conference of the China Development Forum 2014 (CDF 2014) in China and held a discussion with them. Over 70 participants were present, including chief executive officers (CEOs) of top 500 enterprises in the world, experts and scholars from world-renowned universities and research institutes, and executives of the World Bank and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

Douglas R. Oberhelman, Chairman of Caterpillar Inc. of the US, Sam Walsh, CEO of Rio Tinto Group of Australia, Frederick W. Smith, Chairman of the Board of Directors of FedEx Inc. of the US, Ellen Kullman, Chairman of DuPont of the US, Jean-Paul Agon, Chairman of L’Oréal Group of France, Andrew N. Liveris, Chairman of Dow Chemical Company of the US, Christophe de Margerie, Chairman of Total Group of France and others respectively asked questions about the innovation-driven economy, development of the logistics industry, intellectual property protection, improvement of energy efficiency, and investment and business environment for foreign enterprises in China and so on. Li Keqiang answered the questions one by one.

Li Keqiang said that it is the right time to set the theme of this Forum as “China in Comprehensively Deepening Reforms”. As for reforms, it is very important to give play to the market dynamism and creativity, and stimulate endogenous dynamics of economy, which are all inseparable with innovation. The key to achieve the transformation and upgrading of China’s economy also lies in innovation. Systems and mechanisms should be improved. More scien-tech parks and institutions should be covered by the trial reform policies of equity-based incentives for national innovation demonstration zones and their rights of allocation and profit from scien-tech outcomes, so as to fully inspire the scientists and researchers for innovation and invention. Meanwhile, we should pay more attention to intellectual property protection, strengthen legislation and law enforcement, intensify punishment on torts, never allow the the violators harm the overall national interest for pursuing their own small profits. We also hope that some countries will lift unreasonable restrictions on high-tech exports to China.

Li Keqiang pointed out, China is a developing country that has attracted the largest amount of foreign investment over the past 20 plus years. The actual use of foreign capital in the first two months of this year remains a double digit increase. It indicates that China has a huge market and attraction, and the investment environment keeps improving. Though possessing sufficient foreign exchange reserves, China now still welcomes foreign enterprises to invest and set up business in China, bringing us the advanced ideas and technologies. China offers equal treatment for all enterprises registered in China, no matter China-funded or foreign-funded. By building and giving full play to the China (Shanghai) Pilot Free Trade Zone, China will try to explore the management model of pre-establishment national treatment and negative list, perfect the operation and post-operation supervision systems, thus to get replicable experience at an early date and to promote it to more places and the whole country at large. China is negotiating with the United States and Europe on investment agreements, which will help provide a fairer and sounder investment environment for the enterprises of the both sides.

Li Keqiang said, in the future economic structural adjustment, China will not only develop advanced manufacturing, but will also try hard to develop the service industry. The service industry is the largest container for employment. It is also conducive to energy-saving and energy consumption reduction. China will expand the scope of replacing the business tax with the value-added tax, and ease the market access in an orderly way, so as to accelerate the development of and ease the burden on the service industry. China will promote the development of service sectors such as health care, medical treatment, pension, finance and logistics through fair competitions, and offer the Chinese consumers more options in service consumption.

The delegates at present said that China’s development is of crucial importance to the world economy. They highly praised the Chinese government’s devotion to comprehensively deepening reforms. They believe that investment environment in China will be increasingly improved and will offer more opportunities for the development of the Chinese and foreign enterprises. The multinational enterprises care for and support China’s development and are willing to expand cooperation with China to achieve common development.

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