China's high rate of economic growth will not last for another decade if Beijing fails to deal with existing problems like ailing state-owned enterprises, an economist says. The head of Chinese University's economic department, Sung Yun-wing, said it would be too optimistic to suggest that China's high economic growth over the past 18 years could carry over to next century. He said that since adopting its open-door economic policy in 1979, China had only resolved minor problems such as reforming small and township enterprises and agricultural development. 'But certain big issues, such as reforming the ailing medium and large enterprises and banking sector still have a long way to go,' he said. 'It will have a negative impact on China's economic development in the long term if these issues cannot be resolved.' He said China would continue its open-door policy despite having to make some adjustments in attracting foreign investment. 'Most countries have measures to protect certain strategic industries like banking and telecommunications,' he said. 'China is not the only case. 'But, as a whole, China will move further towards a more open policy, especially as it is still seeking to be a member of the World Trade Organisation.' Mr Sung said he did not expect mainland companies to try to use their influence to manipulate Hong Kong's economic development. Britain was still the largest foreign investor in Hong Kong accounting for 27 per cent of the total last year while China was second with about 20 per cent, Mr Sung said. 'Hong Kong's economic model has been protected by the Joint Declaration and the Basic Law, such as a free port, free economy and independent economic entity,' he said. Nobel Laureates and about 200 economists will gather in Hong Kong for a three-day Far Eastern Meeting of the Econometric Society - the largest international conference of its kind in Hong Kong - which begins tomorrow.