BEIJING, March 1 (Xinhua) -- The American Chamber of Commerce in South China has assessed the ongoing reform in the world's second-largest economy in a new report, while nodding to its impact on businesses.
After three months of research on 351 enterprises, mostly foreign joints, the chamber released its sixth white paper on China's business environment this week, in response to investor interests and concerns.
Harley Seyedin, president of the chamber, said, "More than two-thirds of the paper is dedicated to reform. We make a single recommendation: continue moving forward."
According to the report, more than 84 percent of the study participants view China's current business environment as "outstanding," "very good" or "good."
And 60 percent plan to increase their investment in China over the next three years.
"We seek not to conserve what came before but rather to build newer, fairer and more profitable structures upon the robust foundation," Seyedin said.
He will find out if his call is heard by the Chinese government in early March, when China's top legislature and political advisory body have their annual meetings to set general policies on economic and social issues. "Reform" will no doubt be a key word at the sessions this year.
The Central Committee of the Communist Party of China announced a 60-point decision on comprehensively deepening reform in November.
It vows to give foreign investors easier access to sectors including child care and senior care, accounting and auditing, commercial logistics and e-commerce, education and culture.
In the eyes of Zhang Liqun, an economist with the Development Research Center of China's State Council, reform and opening-up are inseparable in China's economy.
The country's new round of reform covers finance and taxation, administration, investment and foreign trade, resulting in a higher-level opening, said Zhang.
"A goal of the reform is to change China's role in international trade," said the economist.
China's economy has grown steadily since the country joined the World Trade Organization in 2001, a milestone event in China's opening-up. It became the largest goods trading nation in 2013, a Ministry of Commerce statement said on Saturday, citing data from the World Trade Organization.
China's goods trade topped 4.16 trillion U.S. dollars last year, including 2.21 trillion dollars in exports and 1.95 trillion dollars in imports, the statement said.
China, however, is in sore need of wider and deeper opening-up to regenerate the vitality of its economy.
The private sector and emerging industries, for instance, are facing the glass ceiling and crying for a barrier-free market, according to Zhang.
Therefore, discussions on eliminating industrial monopolies, accelerating the strategy of free trade zones and joining in the rules-making on international trade will be inevitable, he said.
The creation of more free trade areas is the most hotly anticipated measure for opening-up this year. Several provinces and regions of China have already expressed their enthusiasm during the regional "two sessions" over the past two months.
East China's Shandong Province plans to set up a free trade harbor in Qingdao City, while Zhejiang lists Zhoushan and Yiwu. Xiamen, located on the west side of the Taiwan Straits, was nominated by Fujian Province for the free trade zone plan.
Huo Jianguo, president of the Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation, stressed that having more free trade areas can boost the economy, but more importantly, it helps to optimize the management system by conforming with international standards.
"The pressure of an economic downturn is still there. And the risks are accumulating day by day. The real bonus of setting up free trade areas is finding a reproducible mode of further opening-up," Huo explained.
According to the Ministry of Commerce, overseas investment by Chinese enterprises continued to soar to 90.17 billion U.S. dollars in 2013, up 16.8 percent year on year.
Meanwhile, the ministry forecast that China's outbound investment may exceed 500 billion dollars in the next five years, a prediction in which Seyedin sees more signs of China's openness.
He also believes China's fast-growing and innovative Internet sector has become a new symbol of openness.
He cited in the white paper that Chinese social network giant Tencent spent 200 million dollars to promote its WeChat massaging application overseas.
"A more open partner makes both stronger," he said.