For a Global Economy – Open, Innovative and Inclusive*
November 5, 2018
Your Excellencies Heads of State and Government,
Your Royal Highness,
Your Excellencies Heads of International Organizations,
Your Excellencies Heads of Delegations,
Ladies and gentlemen,
In May 2017, I announced China's decision to hold the China International Import Expo (CIIE) starting from 2018. Today, after more than one year of preparations and with strong support from various parties, the first CIIE is officially opened.
At the outset, on behalf of the Chinese government and people and also in my own name, I wish to express a warm welcome, sincere greetings and best wishes to you all.
The CIIE is the world's first import expo held at the national level, an innovative move in the history of global trade. China has made an important decision to pursue a new round of high-level opening up, a major new initiative to further widen market access to the rest of the world. It demonstrates China's consistent position of supporting the multilateral trading system and promoting free trade. It is a concrete action by China to advance an open world economy and support economic globalization.
Under the theme of "New Era, Shared Future", the CIIE will help friends from around the world to seize opportunities presented by China's development in the new era and offer a platform for us to expand international business cooperation for shared prosperity and progress. More than 3,600 companies from 172 countries, regions and international organizations are attending the event with over 400,000 Chinese and foreign buyers exploring business deals. The expo is utilizing a total area of 300,000 square meters.
I wish all friends participating in this expo a most pleasant and rewarding experience.
Ladies and gentlemen,
The world is going through a new round of major development, transformation and adjustment. The economic and social wellbeing of all countries is increasingly interconnected. Reform of the global governance system and the international order is picking up speed. On the other hand, the world economy is going through profound adjustment, and protectionism and unilateralism are resurgent. Economic globalization faces headwinds, and multilateralism and the system of free trade are under threat. Uncertainties and instabilities still abound, and risks and challenges are growing. Living in such a complex world, we need to understand underlying trends, bolster confidence in our future through opening up and cooperation, and work together to cope with risks and challenges.
All around the world people of vision would agree that economic globalization, as an irreversible trend of history, has greatly boosted global growth. This is an overarching trend, something that is independent of people's will. What humanity can do is to understand and adapt to such historic trends, rather than try to prevent them from happening. The wheel of history, indeed, will keep rolling forward no matter what.
History tells us that openness and cooperation are major driving forces behind dynamic international economy and trade. The current situation calls for openness and cooperation to foster steady global recovery. Looking ahead, openness and cooperation will remain essential for continued human progress.
A great vision, simple and pure, requires credible actions. Given the profound shifts in the international economic landscape, the vision for a better world for all creates a call for countries to act with greater courage and actively champion openness and cooperation in order to secure shared development.
– It is important for all countries to open wider and expand the space for mutually beneficial cooperation. Openness brings progress while isolation leads to backwardness. Global trade and investment are driven by the needs of countries for mutual exchange and complementarity. The history of economic cooperation and international trade testifies to the fact that "economies make progress through exchange and interconnectivity and fall behind because of isolation and seclusion". Efforts to reduce tariff barriers and open wider will lead to interconnectivity in economic cooperation and global trade, while engaging in beggar-thy-neighbor practices, isolation and seclusion will only result in trade stagnation and an unhealthy world economy. Countries need to pursue an open policy, explicitly oppose protectionism and unilateralism, and strive to raise the level of opening up at both bilateral and multilateral levels, so that we can connect our economies and build an open world economy. We need to improve macroeconomic coordination and reduce the negative spillover of national policies to jointly promote global economic growth. We need to establish a set of global economic and trade rules that is fair, reasonable and transparent, and promote and facilitate free trade and investment to make the global economy more open through increased exchanges and integration.
– It is important for all countries to pursue innovative growth and speed up the transformation of growth drivers. Innovation is the premier engine for development. Only with bold innovation and reform can we break through the bottleneck in global growth. The world economy has just moved out of the shadow of the international financial crisis, but the recovery is still unstable. There is an urgent need for a concerted international effort to promote innovation in science and technology and foster new growth drivers. The wellbeing of humanity is the biggest driving force for this. In our interconnected global village, to share the fruits of innovation is the common aspiration and natural choice of the global community. We need to seize the opportunities presented by the new round of technological and industrial revolution, strengthen cooperation in frontier sectors such as the digital economy, artificial intelligence and nanotechnology, and work together to foster new technologies, new industries, and new forms and models of business.
– It is important for all countries to pursue inclusive development for the benefit of all. As a Chinese saying goes, "All flowers in full blossom make a beautiful spring." To lead a happy life is the common aspiration of people all over the world. The progress of human society requires a continued effort from all countries to further opening up, cooperation and win-win development, and reject isolation, confrontation and monopoly. In a world of deeper economic globalization, the pursuit of "the law of the jungle" and "winner-takes-all" leads nowhere. Inclusive growth for all is surely the right way forward. Countries need to rise above differences and leverage their respective strengths to pursue inclusive growth in the face of common risks and challenges. We need to implement the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development of the United Nations, reduce imbalances in global development, and make economic globalization more open, inclusive, balanced and beneficial for all. This way, people of all countries will be able to share the benefits of economic globalization and global growth.
Ladies and gentlemen,
The last four decades of reform and opening up in China have been an epic journey for the Chinese people. With determination and through self-reliance and hard work, we have forged ahead on the road to national development and progress. China has pursued development with its door open and succeeded in transforming a closed and semi-closed economy into a fully open economy. Openness has become a trademark of China. China has grown by embracing the world, and the world has also benefited from China's opening up.
As I explained at the Boao Forum for Asia in April, China's economic growth over the past 40 years has been achieved with a commitment to opening up. In the same vein, a future of high-quality economic development in China can only be guaranteed by greater openness. I have made it clear again and again that China's door will never be closed. It will only open even wider. China will never waver in its effort to pursue higher-quality opening up. China will never falter in its effort to pursue an open world economy. And China will never relent in its effort to pursue a global community of shared future.
China will remain resolute in following a win-win strategy of opening up, adopting policies to promote and facilitate free trade and investment, and breaking new ground in opening up further through links running eastward and westward, across land and over sea. China will remain a strong advocate of openness at the global level, and will continue to act as a stable engine of global growth, a huge market with enormous opportunities, and an active supporter of reform in global governance.
To broaden its opening up, China will step up efforts in the following areas:
First, we will tap the potential for increased imports. China's initiative to expand imports is not a choice of expediency. It is a future-oriented step to embrace the world and to promote common development. To adjust to the upgrading trend in our domestic consumption, we will take more proactive measures to increase people's incomes and purchasing power, foster new growth areas of medium and high-end consumption, continue to unleash the potential of the domestic market, and expand the scope for imports. We will take further steps to lower tariffs, facilitate customs clearance, reduce institutional costs for imports, and step up cross-border e-commerce and other new forms and models of business. China has a market of more than 1.3 billion people, and it is our sincere promise to open the Chinese market to all countries. The CIIE will be held on an annual basis, and will continue to improve with better performance and more results.
Second, we will continue to relax market access. The relaxation measures I announced in April are generally in place. China has shortened the negative list on foreign investment to reduce restrictions and facilitate investment. We are steadily increasing the openness of the financial sector, continuing to open up the service sector, and working towards greater openness in the agricultural, mining and manufacturing sectors. We are accelerating opening up in areas such as telecommunications, education, medical services and culture. In particular, the foreign equity limits are going to be eased in the education and medical service sectors, where there is both strong interest among foreign investors and a notable shortage in domestic supply. China's imports of goods and services are expected to exceed US$30 trillion and US$10 trillion respectively in the coming 15 years.
Third, we will foster a world-class business environment. China will accelerate the formulation of foreign investment laws and regulations, and make its foreign-related legal system more open and transparent. We will implement, across the board, a management system based on pre-establishment national treatment and a negative list. We respect international business rules and practices, and provide equal treatment to all types of businesses registered in China. We protect the lawful rights and interests of foreign companies, and are resolute in punishing those in violation of the lawful rights and interests of foreign investors, particularly intellectual property (IP) rights infringements. We will enhance the credibility and efficiency of IP examination, and put in place a punitive compensation system to significantly raise the cost for offenders. Improving the business environment is an ongoing process, and there is always room for a country to do better in this regard by addressing its own problems. No country should point fingers at others to gloss over its own problems, nor should any country target the flashlight at the weakness of others only, while ignoring its own.
Fourth, we will explore new heights of opening up. China will support deeper reform and innovation in its pilot free trade zones, continue to experiment with new differentiated policies and practices in these zones, and step up stress tests, so as to give full play to their role as a testing ground for reform and opening up. China will waste no time in putting in place policies and institutions for building the Hainan Free Trade Port in a phased and progressive manner, so as to speed up the development of free trade ports in accordance with conditions in China. This is a significant move by China to open wider to the world. It will set a new model and open up new prospects for reform and opening up at a higher level.
Fifth, we will promote international cooperation at multilateral and bilateral levels. China firmly upholds the rules of the World Trade Organization (WTO), supports its necessary reform, and defends the multilateral trading system. China will strive for the early conclusion of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), and speed up negotiations on the China-EU investment agreement and the China-Japan-Republic of Korea free trade area. China will earnestly implement the eight major initiatives1 announced at this year's Beijing Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation. China supports a greater role for mechanisms such as the G20, APEC, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, and the BRICS in building a fairer and more equitable global economic governance system. China will continue to advance the Belt and Road Initiative through international cooperation in the spirit of consultation and collaboration for shared benefits. We will work with participating countries on major projects, set up more trade promotion platforms, and encourage more well-established and strong Chinese companies with good reputation to invest in countries along the Belt and Road and enhance cooperation in eco-environmental protection, science and technology, culture, and in improving people's lives. In so doing, we hope to set up for the whole world a platform for open cooperation.
Ladies and gentlemen,
The Chinese economy is on the whole stable and making further progress. During the first three quarters of this year, China's GDP grew by 6.7 percent, including 6.5-percent growth registered for the third quarter, meeting our growth target. Grain output for the whole year is projected to surpass 1.2 trillion jin (600 million tons). Some 11.07 million new jobs have been created, hitting our annual goal ahead of schedule. Judged against the main economic indicators, from GDP growth, job creation, consumer prices and international balance of payment to companies' profit margins, government fiscal revenue and productivity, China's economy is performing reasonably well. This has given us a solid foundation for delivering the development goals for the whole year. And compared with other major economies, China still ranks among the leaders in terms of GDP growth.
So, when you talk about the future of the Chinese economy, you have every reason to be confident. The fundamentals for sound and stable growth remain unchanged. The necessary production factors for quality development remain unchanged. And the overall momentum of long-term stability and progress remains unchanged. As efforts to advance reform across the board unleash new drivers of growth, China's capacity for macroeconomic regulation is growing. With substantive progress made in advancing the Belt and Road Initiative, two-way investment and trade between China and partner countries continue to gather pace. All in all, favorable conditions are in place for the long-term, healthy and steady growth of the Chinese economy.
Of course, everything has two sides. The current economic situation both at home and abroad has created more uncertainties, more difficulties and more risks for the Chinese economy. In general, we believe these are typical problems that tend to occur in the course of development. However, the measures we have adopted either have manifested, or are manifesting, positive effects.
China is the world's second largest economy. We have a market of more than 1.3 billion consumers who live on a land of over 9.6 million square kilometers. To use a metaphor, China's economy is not a pond, but an ocean. The ocean certainly has its calm days, but also times of gales and storms. Without them, the ocean would not be an ocean. Gales and storms may ravage a pond, but never an ocean. Whatever the gales and storms, the ocean is still there. It is the same for China. After 5,000 years of trials and tribulations, China is still here. Looking ahead, China will always be here.
I am convinced that as long as we have confidence in our strategies, advance reform and opening up in all respects, intensify supply-side structural reform, and make greater efforts to solve outstanding problems, the Chinese economy will surely make a rapid transition to quality development; the Chinese people will surely overcome all difficulties on the way forward; and the country will surely embrace a brighter future.
Ladies and gentlemen,
Every city has its character. Located at the juncture where the Yangtze River flows into the Pacific Ocean, Shanghai has been a pioneer of opening up in China. The city's development has been made possible by its open-mindedness, its competitive edge, and its bold opening-up actions. Since I once worked here, I know personally just how important it is for Shanghai to be open and for China to keep the city open. Indeed, openness, innovation and inclusiveness have become the hallmarks of Shanghai. They are also a vivid reflection of China's development and progress in the new era.
To capitalize on the important role of Shanghai and other areas in China's opening up, we have made the following decisions: First, we will expand the area of the China (Shanghai) Pilot Free Trade Zone with an additional section, and will encourage and support the city in experimenting with bolder and more creative policies of promoting and facilitating free trade and investment, so that more of its successful practices may be replicated in other parts of China. Second, we will launch a science and technology innovation board at the Shanghai Stock Exchange and experiment with a registration system for listed companies. We will also support Shanghai in cementing its position as an international financial center and a hub of science and technology innovation, and in steadily improving the fundamental institutions of its capital market. Third, we will support integrated development of the Yangtze River Delta region. We will make this a national strategy and implement our new development philosophy in earnest. We will build a modern economic system, and adopt higher standards for reform and opening up. The region will develop in tandem with the Belt and Road Initiative, the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei Region, the Yangtze River Economic Belt, and the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area. Together, these will improve the overall framework of China's reform and opening up.
Ladies and gentlemen,
The CIIE is an event hosted by China with the support of the WTO and other international organizations, as well as a large number of participating countries. It is not a solo performance by China, but rather a chorus by countries from all over the world. I hope that at the Hongqiao International Economic and Trade Forum, you will brainstorm ideas for reforming the global economic governance system, for jointly safeguarding free trade and the multilateral trading system, and for working together to foster an open global economy that is innovative and inclusive. Together, let us contribute to our common determined efforts to build a global community of shared future and usher in an even better tomorrow for humanity.
* Keynote speech at the opening ceremony of the First China International Import Expo.
1 This refers to industrial promotion, infrastructure connectivity, trade facilitation, green development, capacity building, health care, people-to-people exchanges, and peace and security.
(Not to be republished for any commercial or other purposes.)