Leaders of the Business Community,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
At a critical time when the world is fighting COVID-19 and exploring ways to achieve economic recovery, I am glad to have this dialogue with you through video links.
This is an unusual time in history for us humanity. The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated changes unseen in a century in the world. The global economy finds itself into deep recession, its industrial and supply chains are disrupted, and governance, trust, development and peace deficits continue to grow. Mounting unilateralism, protectionism and bullying as well as backlash against economic globalization have added to risks and uncertainties in the world economy.
However, peace and development remain the underlying trend of our times. Meeting challenges through cooperation is the only way forward for us in the international community. This pandemic once again shows that the interests of all countries are closely interwoven and that humankind shares a common stake. Indeed, our world is an indivisible community with a shared future. To beat the virus and promote global recovery, we in the international community must close ranks and jointly respond to this crisis and meet the test. All countries should act in the spirit of partnership and get through this tough time together. We need to step up policy communication and coordination, intensify all-round global cooperation against COVID-19 and keep global economy open. By doing so, we can defeat the virus at an early date and achieve robust, sustainable, balanced and inclusive growth for all.
Since the start of this year, facing the sudden onslaught of COVID-19, China has put people and life above everything else. The 1.4 billion Chinese people, united as one, have made a major strategic achievement in fighting the virus. We have endeavored to both contain the virus and speedily bring production and life back to normal, thus maintaining economic and social development. China’s economy resumed positive overall growth in the first three quarters this year. This hard-won achievement speaks volumes about the resilience and vitality of the Chinese economy. The fundamentals sustaining China’s steady and long-term economic growth remain unchanged. We have full confidence and ability to maintain stable economic performance and achieve the goals of finishing the building of a moderately prosperous society in all respects and eradicating poverty within the set time frame.
At its recently concluded Fifth Plenary Session of the 19th Central Committee, the Communist Party of China deliberated on and adopted the recommendations for formulating China’s 14th Five-Year Plan. According to the recommendations, China will complete building a moderately prosperous society in all respects within the set time frame. From next year on, China will embark on a new journey toward fully building a modern socialist country. We will develop a full understanding of the new development stage, and apply the new development philosophy. We will foster a new development paradigm with domestic circulation as the mainstay and domestic and international circulations reinforcing each other. The new development paradigm is a strategic decision we have made based on the current stage and conditions of development in China and with full consideration given to economic globalization and changes in the external environment.
First, we will expand domestic demand as a strategic priority and ensure smooth flow of economic activity. In recent years, China’s development model of reliance on foreign markets and resources has gone through some gradual changes. The ratio of foreign trade to GDP dropped from 67 percent in 2006 to less than 32 percent in 2019, while the ratio of current account surplus to GDP has come down from 9.9 percent in 2007 to less than one percent today. In seven years since the 2008 global financial crisis, the contribution of China’s domestic demand to GDP exceeded 100 percent, making domestic consumption the main driver of its growth. In promoting domestic and international circulations, the Chinese economy has become much more domestically driven and the performance of China’s development has been significantly enhanced. Fostering a new development paradigm will enable China to better adjust its economic structure and achieve high-quality development. China will continue to deepen supply-side structural reforms and further expand domestic demand. Doing so will make production, distribution, flow of goods and services, and consumption in China more based on domestic market, and it will make the supply system better adapt to domestic demand. This will usher in a higher stage of well-adjusted balance where demand drives supply and supply, in turn, creates demand.
Second, we will vigorously make scientific and technological innovations to foster new growth drivers. A new round of technological revolution and industrial transformation is gathering pace, and science and technology are playing an even more significant role in boosting social productivity. To China, innovation has always been the primary driver of development, and we have made major achievements by implementing an innovation-driven development strategy. As China enters a new stage of development, factors of production underpinning its development have gone through profound changes. This means that China must pursue innovation to achieve high-quality growth driven by domestic demand. We will fully leverage the demand of our super-sized domestic market and the strengths of its complete industrial system and redouble efforts to turn research outcomes into real productivity. We will endeavor to build an innovation system that integrates science and technology, education, industries and the financial sector, and upgrade the industrial chains. This will sustain China’s long-term economic development.
Third, we will continue to deepen reform and energize the market. What we have achieved during the past 40-plus years of China’s reform and opening-up shows one thing: Reform is crucial for unleashing and boosting productivity. China has entered a new stage of development and faces new tasks of reform. We will take more steps and remove with greater resolve deep-seated systemic and institutional barriers to modernize China’s governance system and capacity. We will enhance our ability to better apply the new development philosophy, namely, one of pursuing innovative, coordinated, green, open and shared development. We will transform the growth model, upgrade quality and performance, and make growth drivers more robust. We will accelerate the building of a modernized economy, strengthen protection of property and intellectual property rights, set up a high-standard market system and improve mechanisms for fair competition. All this will fully motivate all types of market entities.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Openness enables a country to move forward, while seclusion holds it back. In today’s world where economic globalization has become an irreversible trend, no country can develop itself by keeping its doors closed. China is already deeply integrated into the global economy and the international system. We will not reverse course or run against historical trend by “decoupling” or forming a small circle to keep others out. By fostering a new development paradigm, we are not pursuing a closed-door circulation, but open and mutually reinforcing domestic and international circulations.
— The new development paradigm will enable China to fully unlock its market potential and create greater demand for other countries. China’s per capita GDP has topped US$10,000, and its middle-income population has exceeded 400 million. It is projected by many international institutions that China’s retail market will reach six trillion dollars in size this year. As China’s economy grows, our people naturally want to lead an even better life. This will create more demand for a greater variety of quality products, technologies and services from across the world. Despite the damage inflicted by COVID-19, China’s import of goods has basically recovered to the level of last year. The China International Fair for Trade in Services held in Beijing this September brought together 22,000 companies from 148 countries and regions to its online and off line events. Not long ago, the third China International Import Expo was successfully held in Shanghai. It was participated by companies from 124 countries and regions. The exhibition area was further expanded. More deals were sealed, reaching US$72.62 billion in value. China will further cut tariffs and government instituted transaction costs, and open a number of demonstration zones for creative promotion of import trade to increase import of quality goods and services. I am confident that the steady unleashing of the China market potential will create vast business possibilities for other countries, and this will create stronger impetus for maintaining stable growth of the global economy.
— The new development paradigm will enable China to open up wider and share more opportunities for common development with other countries. China is committed to opening-up, which is its fundamental policy, a policy that will not change at any time. The world economy has faced more instability and uncertainty this year. Protectionism and unilateralism are mounting. Yet China has not stalled in its pursuit of opening-up. As a matter of fact, we have taken many policy steps to open the country still wider. It includes the following: The Foreign Investment Law and its supporting rules and regulations have been fully implemented. The negative list for foreign investment has been further cut. Access to the financial market has been steadily eased. A master plan has been drawn up for the development of the Hainan Free Trade Port. Reform and opening-up in Shenzhen and Pudong have been further advanced. And more pilot programs have been conducted for creative promotion of trade in services.
I wish to reiterate that China’s commitment to opening-up is strong, and that China will open its door still wider to the world. China will continue to advance trade and investment liberalization and facilitation, to conclude, through negotiation, high-standard free trade agreements with more countries, and to actively engage in bilateral, multilateral and regional mechanisms for trade and investment cooperation. The purpose is to build a higher-standard open economy in China. China will improve its system for foreign investment management based on pre-establishment national treatment and negative list. The lawful rights and interests of foreign investors will be protected. China will open up the service sector in a well-planned way, and foster a market-oriented, world-class business environment underpinned by a sound legal framework. China will give its pilot free trade zones greater power in carrying out reform, and turn them into new pacesetters of opening-up. At the same time, China will continue to firmly support the multilateral trading system, get more actively involved in reforming the system of global economic governance, and play its part to make this system fairer and more equitable.
— The new development paradigm will enable China to continue to deepen international cooperation for shared benefits. China will take a more active part in the international division of labor, get more effectively integrated into global industrial, supply and value chains, and more enthusiastically expand exchanges and cooperation with other countries. We welcome cooperation with every other region, country, or company that wants to do so. China will remain committed to openness and cooperation, and adhere to multilateralism and the principle of extensive consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits. China will work to pursue high-quality Belt and Road cooperation with its partners, and seek greater complementarity between the development strategies and connectivity plans of regions and countries concerned. China will further harmonize policies, rules and standards with BRI partners, and deepen effective cooperation with them on infrastructure, industry, trade, scientific and technological innovation, public health and people-to-people exchange. Together, we will make the Belt and Road a model of cooperation, health, recovery and growth and deepen cooperation on green development. This will allow us to contribute to common development and the building of a community with a shared future for mankind.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
The Asia-Pacific is our shared home. To sustain peace, stability, development and prosperity in the region meets the interests of us all. As Asia-Pacific economies are connected by the same ocean, we benefit from close interactions between our peoples and geographic proximity. We should follow market trends, seize opportunities created by economic globalization and regional economic integration and become forerunners driving global growth. The development of the Asia-Pacific and greater economic cooperation in our region represent an underlying historical trend, and such development and cooperation will continue to be imbued with strong vitality, because they respond to the call of the people in our region.
Last year, I proposed building an Asia-Pacific community with a shared future featuring openness, inclusiveness, innovation-driven growth, greater connectivity and mutually beneficial cooperation. This year, thanks to participation of all economies concerned, the APEC Post-2020 Vision has been formulated, which sets out ambitious goals and important guidelines for our future cooperation. Let us not forget that we are a community with a common stake, and let us move toward closer regional economic integration. We need to accelerate innovation-driven growth, enhance regional connectivity, and realize inclusive and sustainable development. Step by step, we can surely turn our vision into reality and deliver a better life for people in the region.
The Asia-Pacific business community is an engine driving economic growth. You have witnessed development and cooperation in our region; and indeed, you have contributed to it every step on the way. You have an important role to play in shaping the future of our region, and there is no doubt you will benefit from its development. Asia-Pacific cooperation has entered a new historical stage at a time when the world is facing multiple challenges. The business community needs a broader vision, greater resilience and stronger entrepreneurship. With them, I am sure you will create greater prospects for business development. I hope you will contribute your share to promoting openness and development. You may work to advance trade and investment liberalization and facilitation, and ensure the security and stability of industrial and supply chains of our region; and your work will enable the Asia-Pacific to take the lead in achieving economic recovery and prosperity. I hope you will explore innovation-driven growth. You may take bold steps to pursue organizational, technological and market innovations; that will make the Asia-Pacific a fertile ground for scientific breakthroughs and a pacesetter for innovation. I hope you will be partners for achieving win-win cooperation. You may tap fully into the potential for cooperation, and make the pie of cooperation even bigger for all our people to benefit from. I hope you will actively fulfill your social responsibilities. You may all play active parts in the international fight against COVID-19 and do more to help disadvantaged groups to add more momentum to global development.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
The day will come when we finally beat COVID-19 and win victory in this fight. Let us work in solidarity and weather the storm together. Let us stay true to openness and cooperation and make development and circulations at home and overseas reinforce each other. Together, we can surely deliver a brighter future for all of us, both here in the Asia-Pacific and across the world!
(Text and photo source: Xinhua)