BEIJING, Dec. 11 (Xinhua) -- Reform and opening-up, which propelled China's rapid growth over more than three decades, will continue to underpin China's future development, President Hu Jintao said here Sunday.
China will implement a more proactive opening up strategy and open more areas to the world, Hu said in a keynote speech at a forum to commemorate the 10th anniversary of China's entry into the World Trade Organization (WTO).
Hu said China's entry into the WTO 10 years ago was a major event in the country's reform and opening-up process, adding it indicated "the beginning of a new historical stage" in the country's opening up.
China became the WTO's 143rd member on Dec. 11, 2001. Since then, the country has grown to become the world's second-largest economy, largest commodity exporter, second largest commodity importer, and millions of Chinese people have been lifted out of poverty.
The past decade proves China's WTO entry has brought benefits for both the country's people and the rest of the world, Hu said.
Hu said China will continue efforts to promote the world's common development, shoulder obligations and responsibilities within its capabilities and continue to play a constructive role in the global economic community.
The country also pledges to build a fair, stable and transparent investment environment for domestic and overseas businesses, reduce government intervention in micro-economic activities, and enhance protection of intellectual property rights.
Efforts will be made to encourage the establishment of research and development centers by foreign investors in a way to push forward the country's technological innovation, Hu said.
He said the country will promote the balanced development of foreign trade and attach importance to both imports and exports, boosting imports while stabilizing exports.
The speech emphasized that China does not intentionally seek a trade surplus and will beef up efforts to improve its international balance of payments.
"We will strengthen economic cooperation with countries that have substantial trade deficits with China, and work with them together to resolve trade imbalances," he said.
This comes one day after customs data showed China's trade surplus narrowed to 14.52 billion U.S. dollars in November from October's 17.03 billion U.S. dollars.
To steer the national economy through the international financial crisis and its aftermath, the government strove to boost domestic demand after external demand weakened as the eurozone, the country's largest trade partner, continued to wrestle with a deepening debt morass.
Thanks to the country's policies to boost domestic demand, the power of its consumers will be unleashed during the coming five years. China's retail sales are expected to grow by more than 15 percent annually in the next five years and will hit 32 trillion yuan (5.05 trillion U.S. dollars) by 2015, Hu said.
"It's estimated that China's total imports will exceed 8 trillion U.S. dollars in the next five years, which will offer tremendous opportunities to countries around the world," he said.
Hu urged countries to recognize China's full-market economy status as soon as possible and relax restrictions on high-tech commodity exports to China.
He said the country will continue to enhance international economic and technological cooperation and foster the development of modern industries, which features optimized structure, advanced technology, clean and safe production, high-value products and capability to boost employment.
The country also plans to introduce advanced technology to improve the international competitiveness of its domestic manufacturing industries and move up the value chain in traditional manufacturing sector.
Foreign investment will be encouraged in the country's cultural sectors that are permitted by law, he said, adding that the country also welcomes foreign investment in the country's national strategy of developing the central and western regions and rejuvenating the old industrial bases in the northeast.
In spite of the progress China has made in improving its social productivity, comprehensive national power and people's livelihoods, it is still the world's largest developing country, he said.
China's development still contains unbalanced, uncoordinated and unsustainable strains, and the country will seek to transform its economic development pattern and adjust the economic structure.
Also in attendance at the forum were international organization leaders such as WTO Director-General Pascal Lamy, Secretary General of the UN Conference on Trade and Development Supachai Panitchpakdi, World Bank Vice President Otaviano Canuto, and IMF deputy managing director Naoyuki Shinohara.