China will continue with supply-side structural reform and produce more appealing policies to attract foreign professionals to work here in an enhanced effort at opening-up further in 2018, Premier Li Keqiang said on Monday.
"With our country's door to the world opening even wider, we will produce more appealing policies to attract foreign talents to work in China and provide more convenience for your lives here," Li told a gathering of outstanding foreign experts working in China.
Ten days ahead of Chinese Lunar New Year, Li attended the annual event in the Great Hall of the People to send greetings and collect wisdom from more than 60 scholars and business leaders on achieving high-quality development, smart manufacturing and improving the quality of higher education.
Li expressed his gratitude on behalf of the Chinese government to foreign experts in China for their contribution to the country's progress of modernization and reform.
Noting that 2018 marks the 40th anniversary of China's reform and opening-up policy, Li said the government will fully implement the five to 10 year visa policy for foreign experts and issue more favorable policies for foreigners working in China, including easing terms of applications for permanent residency.
He said that under the Communist Party of China's strong leadership, with General Secretary Xi Jinping as the core, China's economy remained in good health in 2017, with a better than expected annual growth rate of 6.9 percent, the first acceleration in annual growth in seven years, contributing to more than 30 percent of the world's economic growth.
"The Chinese economy will not face drastic fluctuation, as its economic structure has been remarkably improved with consumption leading its growth in the past several years," Li said, ruling out the possibility of a hard landing.
The government will comprehensively deepen reform while preparing for all kinds of risks this year, he said.
He encouraged experts from overseas to continue to actively participate in China's growth in innovation and industrial upgrading, adding that their ideas will be more than welcomed.
Edmund S. Phelps, winner of the 2006 Nobel Prize in Economics and dean of New Huadu Business School in Fujian province, told Li at the meeting that he has just received the new 10-year visa for foreign experts.
"It is encouraging to see China creating an increasingly conducive environment for entrepreneurship and innovation," he said. "And I think this open policy will bring more foreign talents to China to showcase their expertise and to join in China's development."
John Hopcroft, a foreign member of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, shared his thoughts with the premier on improving the evaluation system of China's higher education.
In January, China's State Administration of Foreign Experts Affairs announced easier visa permits for foreign professionals and high-skilled workers who qualified among efforts to bridge the country's gap in foreign experts, with the expiration date of the visa extended to five to 10 years after issuance, with multiple entries and 180-day-stays for a single entry.