Remarks by H.E. Wang Yi, State Councilor and Minister of Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of China, at the GMS Business Summit
Vietnam National Convention Center, Hanoi, 30 March 2018
Your Excellency Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc,
Your Excellency Prime Minister Hun Sen,
Your Excellency Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith,
Your Excellency Vice President Henry Van Thio,
Your Excellency Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha,
Representatives of the Business Community,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Hanoi is a beautiful city. Every time I come, I am always impressed by its fast change and dynamism. The sixth GMS Summit in Hanoi is an important event of sub-regional cooperation. I am confident that with concerted efforts of all parties, it will be a full success and provide new impetus to the development of the sub-region.
Thanks to the initiative of Vietnam, we are having this first business summit on the sidelines of the GMS summit, a new arrangement that enables us to listen extensively to the business community and encourages their greater participation in the GMS cooperation.
Profound changes are taking place in the international landscape and the world economy, and the Greater Mekong Sub-region is faced with development opportunities. I have full confidence in the prospect of GMS cooperation. Hereby, I would like to convey three messages to friends from the business community:
First, China’s development has entered a new era, and will continue to provide strong impetus to the development of countries in the sub-region and beyond. The 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China late last year mapped out the blueprint for China’s future development, and building on that, the recently concluded NPC and CPPCC sessions have further fleshed out comprehensive plans.
Guided by the innovative, coordinated, green, open and inclusive approach to development, China will focus on supply-side structural reform, and advance strategic adjustment and upgrading of its economy. China’s economic development will be more stable, coordinated and sustainable, and shift to high-quality development at a faster pace.
Our efforts are already generating positive changes. In 2017, consumption contributed 58.8% of China’s economic growth and the share of the service sector rose to 51.6% of GDP. Contribution of technological progress to GDP growth increased to 57.3%. 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 will remain a stable source of growth for the global economy, and its development will open up new prospects for the sub-region.
Second, China will open still wider to the world and contribute more opportunities to countries in and outside the sub-region. As President Xi stressed on many occasions, the door of China’s opening-up will not be closed but will open even wider. This is a powerful expression of China’s determination. In pursing opening-up on all fronts, we will adopt policies to promote high-level trade and investment liberalization and facilitation, significantly ease market access, further open up the service sector, the financial sector in particular, protect the legitimate rights and interests of foreign investors, protect intellectual property rights, and create a world-class business environment. In the coming five 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 opens up to all parts of the world, but first of all, to our neighbors. You will be the first to hear the steps of China’s opening and share its dividends. In November, China will host in Shanghai the first International Import Expo, a new platform for sharing development opportunities among all participants. Next year, China will host the second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation. We look forward to the active participation of the GMS countries and your business communities to enhance our all-round cooperation and share the benefits under the Belt and Road framework.
It needs to be pointed out that opening should work both ways. China opens itself to other countries and hopes others will be open to China. Frictions and disputes in international trade are nothing surprising. What’s important is to work for win-win solutions through equal consultation in line with laws and rules. Those who choose unilateralism or protectionism, an approach against the trend of the history, will find themselves going nowhere and see their own interests undermined.
Third, China will remain committed to pursuing common development of the GMS countries. With geographical proximity, cultural affinity and interconnected interests, our six countries are in a strong position for cooperation. As a member of the GMS, China sees its own development and future closely linked with those of the other sub-regional countries. China is the biggest trading partner of Cambodia, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam, and the second biggest of the Laos. In 2017, trade between China and the other five GMS countries reached US$220 billion, and 30 million visits were exchanged between our peoples.
China’s investment in the five GMS countries has topped US$40 billion. Through concessional loans and special credit line for industrial capacity cooperation, China has given support to over 20 big infrastructure and industrialization projects in those countries. Construction has started on the key projects of the China-Laos railway and China-Thailand railway. The Belt and Road development has made concrete progress in the sub-region.
The Chinese often say that it is better to have a close neighbor than a distant relative. Indeed, the neighborhood has been so important to China’s development. Neighboring countries have also been the first to benefit from China’s development. China will keep to the policy of amity, sincerity, mutual benefit and inclusiveness to pursue partnership and friendship with the other GMS countries. In a spirit of partnership, China is ready to deepen mutual political trust and practical cooperation with the other GMS countries to advance regional development and our people’s well-being. Taking other GMS countries as good neighbors, partners and friends, China welcomes you to be the priority passengers on the express train of China’s development.
The business community is the mainstay of economic development. Your contribution is indispensable and your wisdom invaluable for the better development of the Greater Mekong Sub-region. Let us work together to keep our sub-region on the track of fast yet stable development, promote strong growth of the Asian and world economy, and contribute to the building of a global community with a shared future.