BEIJING: China's new economic development pattern of "dual circulation" is set to get a vital boost as authorities detailed an ambitious plan on how to build a national unified market to enable a more efficient and smooth flow of labor and goods across the country.

Eyeing a comprehensive push for the country's market to evolve from being big to becoming powerful, authorities last month issued a guideline on accelerating the establishment of a unified domestic market that is efficient, rules-based, fair and open.

The aim is to remove local protectionism, market segmentation and impediments restricting economic circulation to facilitate the smooth flow of products and resources on a larger scale.

The concept of a unified market is not new in China. In 2013, several government agencies released together a plan to remove regional blockades to build a unified and open market system, and gradual steps have been taken toward achieving that.

The task became more urgent after authorities in 2020 floated the dual circulation policy, which takes the domestic market as the mainstay while letting internal and external markets boost each other as a strategic solution to build up resilience against external shocks.

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To make the local market function more efficiently, the coordination and unification of standards, rules and policies in different regions and industries will be the necessary foundation.

"The key to building a new development pattern lies in the unobstructed economic cycle, which requires accelerating the construction of a unified national market, as a scattered and fragmented market cannot guarantee the free flow of factors, as well as the fair distribution and smooth circulation of products," said Liu Zhicheng of the Chinese Academy of Macroeconomic Research, a think tank under the National Development and Reform Commission.

Although decades of market-oriented reforms have made the circulation of goods and services smoother, local protectionism and market segmentation remained major hindrances.

The guideline specified a wide range of standardizations, including uniting basic market institutions in property rights protection, market entry, fair competition and social credit.

Seen either in its basic concept, principles, targets or policy measures, the establishment of a unified market is consistent with the country's market-oriented reforms, Liu said, dismissing concerns that the country may return to the path of a planned economy.

As for impacts on the global market, Liu said setting up a unified national market did not mean self-imposed closures or closing doors, but implied advancing institutional opening-ups, instead of making better use of global factors and resources.

Adhering to open thinking, the guideline focuses on cultivating new advantages in international competition and cooperation; promoting better connectivity between the local and international markets in terms of market rules and infrastructure; and enhancing influence in the global industry, innovation and supply chains.

Once the task is completed, the relatively unified domestic rules can be better aligned with international ones, and China's megamarket advantages can be utilized more extensively, thus accelerating the construction of a new development pattern of dual circulation, analysts said.