Premier Li Keqiang Attends Special Virtual Dialogue with Global Business Leaders
Author: World Economic Forum
21st July 2022
Premier Li Keqiang attended the Special Virtual Dialogue with Global Business Leaders hosted by the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Beijing on July 19, vowing China's further efforts to deepen high-level opening-up and foster a market-oriented, world-class business environment governed by a sound legal framework.
Premier Li delivered an address and exchanged views with business representatives. The dialogue was moderated by Executive Chairman of the WEF Klaus Schwab, and nearly 400 business leaders from over 50 countries participated.

Premier Li noted the profound and complex shifts and notably rising challenges and uncertainty in regional and international environments. President Xi Jinping had pointed out in his address at the World Economic Forum Virtual Session this year that China will stay committed to reform and opening-up, Premier Li said.

A peaceful and stable environment is the prerequisite for development. China will work with all parties to uphold the UN-centered international system, practice multilateralism and jointly safeguard world peace and tranquility, he said.

Promoting stable growth of the world economy is a common and urgent task for all, Premier Li said, adding countries need to strengthen macroeconomic policy coordination, ensure stable food and energy supply, and keep industrial and supply chains safe and smooth.

It is important to enhance unity and coordination, firmly defend and promote economic globalization, deepen bilateral and multilateral cooperation, and advance balanced, inclusive and sustainable development that delivers for all, he said.

On the state of the Chinese economy, Premier Li noted that in the second quarter this year, under the impacts from a new round of COVID flare-ups and other factors beyond expectation, downward economic pressure rose steeply, and major indicators tumbled in April.

"We responded with resolute and swift action. We put stable growth higher on the agenda, held our ground against a massive stimulus, worked to front-load the policies set, and introduced and implemented a policy package of 33 measures for stabilizing the economy," said the Premier.

Premier Li said in May, the decline in major economic indicators slowed. In June, the economy stabilized and rebounded. Major indicators picked up fairly fast and returned to the positive territory. The surveyed urban unemployment rate fell notably. As a result, the economy registered a positive growth in the second quarter.

"That said, we are keenly aware that recovery of the economy is not yet firmly established, and painstaking efforts are required to keep overall economic performance stable," Premier Li added.

He said China, as the world's largest developing country, has huge development potential. "We will fully apply the new development philosophy, effectively coordinate COVID-19 response and economic and social development, and bring out the initiative of all sides. We will continue to take development as the basis of and key to overcoming all challenges China faces, and work hard to bring the economy back to a normal track as soon as possible."

Premier Li went on to point out the primary buttress for keeping economic performance in a proper range is stable employment and prices. "Since 2020, our policies in tackling COVID-19 and other major impacts have been appropriate in scale, and we have not resorted to massive stimulus, which created conditions for preventing inflation."

This year, summer grains saw a bumper harvest with historic high yields, autumn grain production enjoys a good momentum, and coal-fired power is in stable supply, Premier Li said, adding this has laid the foundation for stable prices at home and is conducive to stability in global food and energy markets.

China has over 160 million market entities, and a hardworking and intelligent people, Premier Li said, adding this is the greatest source of resilience and confidence for China's economic development.

"In recent years, our macro policies have been oriented toward the needs of market entities," the Premier said, adding by keeping the operations of market entities stable, China has kept employment stable and increased household income.

"We will keep macro policies consistent and targeted, and continue to focus efforts on helping market entities resolve difficulties, to preserve the foundation of economic development. Macro policies will be both targeted and forceful, and well-calibrated as appropriate. We will not introduce supersize stimulus measures, issue excessive money supply, or sacrifice future interests to go after an excessively high growth speed. We will take a realistic approach and do the best within our means to strive for fairly good results in economic development for the whole year," stressed Premier Li.

Noting there is still ample space for the policy package for stabilizing growth to play its role, Premier Li said over 1.8 trillion yuan of value added tax (VAT) credits has been refunded in the first half of the year, and more taxes will be actually refunded with further implementation of this policy incentive. The actual use of the special local government bonds and the newly-launched policy-based and development-oriented financial instruments will drive effective investment, generate more physical gains, and boost employment and consumption.

"We will press ahead with reform to bolster dynamism, including deepening the reform of government functions, to further catalyze market vitality and social creativity," Premier Li added.

Premier Li noted that China's economy has been deeply integrated into the global economy, and opening-up is China's fundamental national policy. China cannot develop in isolation from the world, and the world also needs China for its development, said Premier Li.

"We will deepen high-level opening-up, stay committed to free trade and fair trade, and help keep the two wheels of multilateral and regional trade cooperation running in parallel," Premier Li said, adding continued efforts will be made to foster a market-oriented, world-class business environment governed by a sound legal framework, and ensure foreign enterprises' equal access to opening-up sectors in accordance with law to realize mutual benefit and win-win amid fair competition.

Noting China is ready to strengthen international cooperation against COVID-19, Premier Li said China will make COVID control measures more targeted and well-calibrated under the premise of ensuring safety against COVID infections, including steadily improving visa and COVID testing policies, further resuming and increasing international passenger flights in an orderly way, and advancing outbound commerce and trade activities and cross-border travel for labor services in a prudent and orderly manner. "This will better promote personnel inter-flow and exchanges and cooperation between China and the world."

Premier Li also answered questions raised by business representatives on the sound and steady development of China-US relations, meeting the climate challenge, the prospects of manufacturing development and consumption policy.

Xiao Jie and He Lifeng attended the Dialogue.
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