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President Xi Jinping said Sunday that China will stick to the all-round opening-up policy, and continue to liberalize and facilitate trade and investment.
Xi made the remarks during a panel discussion with lawmakers at the annual session of the National People's Congress (NPC).
"China's opening door will not close again," he said at the discussion hosted by the NPC Shanghai delegation, of which he is a member.
"Shanghai officials should free their minds, seek new horizons, and be an example to the nation," said Xi, also general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission.
Xi urged Shanghai, a pioneer in reform and opening up, to do more in deepening free trade zone (FTZ) reforms, promoting science and technology innovation, improving social management, and governing the Party in an all-around and strict manner.
Shanghai became home to China's first pilot FTZ in 2013, the testbed of new economic policies, including the negative list for foreign capital management, which defines sectors in which foreign entities can invest.
Xi urged Shanghai to turn the FTZ into a zone of openness and innovation to serve the Belt and Road Initiative and help the country's businesses expand overseas.
The president stressed that innovation is key to the "new normal" in economic development and crucial to the supply-side structural reform, calling for greater advances in basic science and major breakthroughs in key technologies.
On city management, Xi said Shanghai should make better use of the Internet and big data in smart city administration, to become a safer, cleaner and more orderly international metropolis.