BOAO, China, April 10 (Xinhua) -- Business leaders and experts from around the world on Tuesday hailed China's bold moves to expand reforms and opening-up, unveiled at this year's Boao Forum for Asia annual conference in China's southern island province of Hainan.
In his keynote speech addressing the opening ceremony of the forum at the seaside resort, Chinese President Xi Jinping recalled the historic progress of his country's reform and opening-up over the past four decades.
Xi put forward a set of new and landmark measures to significantly broaden China's market access, strengthen protection of intellectual property rights, improve the investment environment for foreign investors, and reduce import tariffs for vehicles and some other products.
"China's reform and opening-up meets its people's aspiration for development, innovation and a better life. It also meets the global trend toward development, cooperation and peace," the Chinese president said.
Jean-Pierre Raffarin, former French prime minister, told Xinhua that Xi aims "to improve international cooperation against protectionism."
"There is no winner with protectionism and we want win-win dialogue," he added.
Stephen Groff, vice-president of the Asian Development Bank, echoed Raffarin in highlighting the significance of an open economy.
"We believe that the open economy and open trade are critical for a sustainable global economic growth," he noted.
He also said opening-up would increase competition "in whatever sector that is opening up, which ultimately results in more innovation and better products and better services that ultimately benefit consumers at the end of the day."
Sorao Sugiyama, attache at Japanese Consulate-General in China's southern city of Guangzhou, said the proposals that Xi has introduced at the forum are "very significant."
He noted that Japan's population is shrinking, so it needs to expand overseas markets, saying that as trade policies in some countries like the United States are turning protectionist, China's markets are quite important to Japan.
Serge Degallaix, general director of the Prospective and Innovation Foundation in France, told Xinhua that Xi's speech has been very much expected throughout the world.
"We know the president's conviction in favor of openness, free trade and a balanced growth," he said, adding that China has been sticking to openness, and the new reforms measures (that) President Xi freshly announced, which mainly concern finance, manufacturing and the protection of intellectual property rights, are very important after 40 years of reforms and opening-up.
Alexei Chekunkov, general director of Russia's Far East and Baikal Region Development Fund, said he thinks that it is fitting for Xi in his speech to compare fresh air to an attractive environment for investment.
Chekunkov said he believes it is an important signal of China's determination to further integrate into the global economy.
He also noted that China's economy has been pivoting from a focus on high-speed growth to quality-oriented growth, and the Chinese people's purchasing power is also growing, saying that companies in many countries, including those from Russia, are seeking to explore Chinese markets with the hope of winning over the hearts of Chinese consumers.
In his speech, Xi mentioned that China is going to explore the opening of free trade ports.
"Russia has set up a free trade port in Vladivostok. China and Russia share similar goals in this area, and therefore can share their experiences," he said.
"China's reform and opening-up policy," said Chekunkov, "has made it a successful participant of the world economy."
(Xinhua reporters Kang Yi, Wang Shang, Qiu Xia, Zhou Huimin, Tamara Treichel in Boao also contributed to the story.)