Second, we have further expanded opening-up and mutually beneficial cooperation.
Over the past year, the global economy has faced the deepest recession since World War II precipitated by the pandemic. As the world's second largest economy, China has deepened reform and opening-up across the board and actively pursued mutually beneficial cooperation to provide impetus and confidence for the global recovery.
China has accelerated reform and opening-up endeavors across the board. The Foreign Investment Law and its implementation regulations came into effect. The items on the national negative list for foreign investment have been further cut to 33, and down to 30 for the pilot free trade zones. A master plan has been drawn up for the development of the Hainan Free Trade Port. Measures for further reform and opening-up in Shenzhen and Pudong have been rolled out. And more pilot programs have been conducted for creative promotion of trade in services. With these steps, China has opened its door even wider to the world.
We have set out to foster a new development paradigm with domestic circulation as the mainstay and domestic and international circulations reinforcing each other. Our purpose is to vigorously expand domestic demand and form deeper and broader connections between domestic and international circulations. This will provide greater market opportunities for the world and broader space for international cooperation. This will also open up new dimensions in China's win-win strategy of opening-up and speed up the process toward a new, higher-standard open economy in China.
Despite the challenges, China's mutually beneficial cooperation with other countries has continued to move forward. In the first three quarters this year, China's economy resumed positive growth, with an uptick in total trade in goods and notable increase in paid-in foreign investment. China is expected to become the first major economy to register positive growth this year. This is a hard-won achievement that will provide an important underpinning for global recovery.
The Belt and Road cooperation has shown strong resilience and vitality under COVID-19. In the first eight months this year, China's trade with Belt and Road partners reached RMB5.86 trillion yuan, and Chinese companies made 30 percent more non-financial direct investment in Belt and Road partner countries year-on-year. As of early November, the China-Europe Railway Express had completed more than 10,000 services and transported at least 50 percent more freight than last year. The Express has been compared to a steel camel fleet that vigorously supported joint COVID responses by countries along its routes. The High-level Video Conference on Belt and Road International Cooperation yielded productive outcomes. Participants agreed to work toward a Health Silk Road, adding another building block toward high-quality Belt and Road cooperation. We have successfully held the third China International Import Expo attended by over 3,600 companies from more than 150 countries and regions. By holding the Expo, China has shared with the world the benefits and opportunities generated by its economic recovery and opening-up, and shown itself to be a market for the world, shared by all and accessible to all.
Third, we have provided strong support for global stability.
Over the past year, China has made active efforts to develop its relations with other major countries and foster a framework of major-country relations featuring overall stability and well-balanced development.
President Xi Jinping has had four phone calls with Russian President Vladimir Putin this year, providing guidance for the continued growth of China-Russia comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination for a new era. The two countries provided each other with anti-epidemic supplies and medical assistance, and jointly promoted international cooperation against COVID-19. Practical cooperation between the two sides has continued to deepen. Steady progress was made in several major projects. The Year of Scientific and Technological Innovation was officially launched. The two sides have worked in concert to defend the victorious outcomes of World War II and uphold international fairness and justice and firmly supported each other against foreign interference and stigmatization, acting as important players in safeguarding global strategic stability.
This year marks the 45th anniversary of the diplomatic ties between China and the EU. Chinese and EU leaders have agreed to strengthen coordination and cooperation, deepen strategic mutual trust, firmly uphold multilateralism, and jointly meet global challenges. In the first three quarters, China became EU's largest trading partner for the first time. The two sides signed the agreement on geographical indications, a demonstration of their shared commitment to intellectual property protection. The two sides decided to establish two new high-level dialogue mechanisms, one on environment and climate and the other on digital cooperation, and build partnerships for green and digital cooperation. Closer partnership between the two sides in these areas will add new dimensions to the China-EU comprehensive strategic partnership. Negotiations toward a China-EU investment treaty has entered the final phase, with both sides working to conclude the negotiations by the end of this year.
This year has witnessed the most challenging situation facing China-US relations since the establishment of diplomatic ties over four decades ago. As the world needed solidarity and cooperation the most, the United States headed down the path of unilateralism, which has become the most disruptive factor in the international system. Out of their self-interests and political bias, some people in the United States have sought to smear and suppress China, impose unjustified sanctions, and even stoke ideological confrontation in an attempt to plunge the world into a new Cold War.
These unpopular moves should stop now. Otherwise, they will damage US credibility, jeopardize world peace and stability, and will ultimately be rejected by people of the world and by history. The China-US relationship is showing a complexity that goes far beyond the bilateral scope; it has in fact become a matter of going for multilateralism or unilateralism, progress or retrogression, and justice or hegemony. What China defends is not only its own legitimate rights and interests, but also the common and long-term interests of all countries. What China safeguards is not only the political foundation underpinning China-US interactions, but also the basic norms governing international relations applicable to all countries. What China advocates is not only its own legitimate propositions, but also fairness and justice of the world.
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