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Speech by HE Ambassador Ms Wu Xi at the China Business Summit
2018/05/15

It is my great pleasure to join you this morning in Auckland. Let me thank NZ INC and Auckland Business Chamber for hosting this China Business Summit. I appreciate Prime Minister Ardern and Minister Parker’s positive remarks on China-New Zealand relations.

Thanks to the concerted efforts by both sides, tremendous progress has been made in China-New Zealand relations over the last decades. Our leaders have kept in close touch with each other. In 2014, we fostered Comprehensive Strategic Partnership during President Xi Jinping’s state visit to New Zealand. Last year, we signed Memorandum of Arrangement on Strengthening Cooperation on the Belt and Road Initiative during Premier Li Keqiang’s visit to New Zealand. We enjoy an impressive and proud list of ‘firsts’ in China’s relations with developed countries. New Zealand was the first to sign and implement a bilateral FTA with China, the first to launch the negotiation to upgrade bilateral FTA, to give just a few examples. China has now become New Zealand’s largest trading partner. Last year, our bilateral trade volume hit a record high of $26.1 billion. Our people-to-people exchanges remain robust. China is New Zealand’s second largest source of tourists and the largest source of international students.

However, while we are proud of what we have achieved,we should in no way be complacent. In a fast changing and ever evolving world, if we do not press ahead, we will be left behind. Therefore, we need to keep our eyes wide open for the opportunities, and take concrete actions to turn the opportunities into real benefits. In this context, I believe this summit is convened at a timely manner when we need to take a look on how to forge ahead China-New Zealand relations.

First, I want to talk about China’s goal in the next 30 years till the middle of this century.

In his speech at the 19th Party Congress, President Xi Jinping set a clear goal for China’s future development. It means, by 2020, China will complete building of a moderately prosperous society in all respects. By 2035, China will have basically achieved socialist modernization. And by 2050, China will have become a great modern socialist country that is prosperous, strong, democratic, culturally advanced, harmonious, and beautiful. This is the blueprint for China’s development in the coming decades.

To achieve these goals, we need a new and higher level of development. We will put more emphasis on the quality rather than speed of growth, on a more comprehensive and coordinated development rather than very narrowly-defined economic growth, on what real benefits people can get rather than just aggregate growth rate. Therefore, this is a goal to seek happiness for the Chinese people and to achieve national rejuvenation, rather than some geopolitical or geo-strategic plan. It is a goal to transcend ourselves, rather than to challenge others.

Our efforts are already generating positive changes. In 2017, consumption contributed almost 60% of China’s economic growth and the share of the service sector rose to more than 50% of GDP. Contribution of technological progress to GDP growth increased to 57%. With consumption, the service sector and emerging industries playing a bigger part, the Chinese economy will maintain a medium-to-high growth with higher quality, stronger momentum and better structure. China remains the engine of the global economy by contributing over 30 % to the world economic growth annually.

The achievements made over the past four decades of reform and opening-up proved that China has found a development path suitable to its own national conditions. The advancement of 1.3 billion Chinese people towards prosperity is the biggest contribution China has made to the world. Thus, China will continue to unswervingly follow its own development path.

That leads to my second point, what will China offer to the world through its own development.

As put in his keynote speech at Boao Forum for Asia last month, President Xi Jinping reaffirmed that China will adhere to its fundamental national policy of opening-up, and pursue development with its door wide open. China’s door of opening-up will not be closed and will only open even wider. President Xi also announced a series of major measures for further opening up. These include significantly broadening market access, creating a more attractive investment environment, strengthening protection of intellectual property rights (IPR), and taking the initiative to expand imports.

China will significantly lower the import tariffs for automobiles and some other products, make more moves toward further expanding financial market access, and re-institute the state intellectual property office to step up law enforcement and significantly raise the cost for offenders. In the following 5 years, China is expected to import US$ 8 trillion worth of goods, attract US$600 billion worth of foreign investment and make a total of US$750 billion outbound investment. China’s high-speed rail, e-commerce, mobile payments, and the sharing economy are leading the world and will bring more and more benefits to the Chinese people and people in the world.

At the same time, China will stick to the path of peaceful development, actively pursue global partnerships, firmly support multilateralism, and take an active part in reforming the global governance system. China will actively promote international cooperation through the Belt and Road Initiative. In doing so, we hope to achieve policy, infrastructure, trade, financial, and people-to-people connectivity and thus build a new platform for international cooperation to create new drivers of shared development. We will open our arms to the rest of the world and welcome them aboard the express train of China’s development.

On the other hand, we have always stressed that no matter how much progress China has made in development, China will not threaten anyone else, attempt to overturn the existing international system, or seek spheres of influence. China will stay as determined as ever to build world peace, contribute to global prosperity and uphold the international order.

Third, how should China and New Zealand work together for shared benefits.

The world is undergoing a new round of major development, great change and profound readjustment. The new round of technological and industrial revolution brings fresh opportunities and presents unprecedented challenges. It is clear that no country can handle all the challenges by itself. And no country can achieve prosperity in isolation.

Therefore, we should guard against any kind of unilateralism and protectionism, and join hands to safeguard international system underpinned by the purposes and principles of the UN Charter, and multilateral trade system which promotes rule based global economic order, to ensure common development and common prosperity.

We should open wider to each others’ economies. While China opens itself to other countries, we hope others will be open to China as well. The progress in China-New Zealand relations in the past decades is an excellent example of opening to each other, bringing mutual benefits and achieving win-win outcome.

We should enhance political mutual trust, by respecting each other’s development path, taking a positive view on each other’s development, and accommodating each other’s core interests and major concerns, so as to deepen our Comprehensive Strategic partnership. It is one of China’s fundamental principles in foreign policy that China does not interfere into any other countries’ internal affairs. Likewise, we do not want to see any other country interfere into that of ours.

We should expand mutually beneficial cooperation. There’s a lot we can do together, such as advancing cooperation on the Belt and Road Initiative, reaching more consensus on upgrading bilateral FTA to expand the bonds of trade,striving to realize the $30 billion goal for two-way trade by 2020. In November, China will host the first International Import Expo in Shanghai, through which China would like to share development opportunities with New Zealand and many other countries. What’s more, we can further tap cooperation potential, especially in the fields of AI, environment, food-security and so on.

Last but not the least, we should enhance our cooperation on regional and international issues, such as climate change, global governance, non-proliferation and many others, to address the challenges we both face.

Economic cooperation is the bedrock and propeller of China-New Zealand relations. The business community always stand at the forefront in supporting the development of China-New Zealand relations. It is important to keep one’s eyes wide open in a fast changing world, but what’s more important is to take concrete actions. As President Xi said at Boao, “A mountain is formed by accumulation of earth and an ocean is formed by accumulation of water.” Success only favors those with courage and endurance. So let us join hands, roll-up our sleeves, be ready for the hard work to further promote this very important and promising relationship, for the benefit of our two peoples, and for the sake of peace, stability and common prosperity of the region and beyond.

I wish this China Business Summit a complete success.

Thank you.

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