Address at the Opening Ceremony of the Annual Meeting of the New Champions 2018
H.E. Li Keqiang, Premier of the State Council of the People’s Republic of China
Tianjin, 19 September 2018
Professor Klaus Schwab,
Your Excellencies Heads of State and Government,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is a great pleasure to join you again in Tianjin. Let me begin by extending, on behalf of the Chinese government, warm congratulations on the opening of the Annual Meeting of the New Champions 2018, and a sincere welcome to all guests from afar.
Since its inception years ago, the Summer Davos Forum has borne witness to the efforts by various countries to tackle the global financial crisis and bring about global recovery. As a gathering of new champions in the business community, the Forum has contributed forward-looking insights to the quest for new pathways and engines for global growth and transformation.
It is encouraging to note the collective global recovery that has emerged following a tortuous journey. This recovery is, to a large measure, driven by the new round of industrial revolution and a new boom in innovation, which has lent fresh impetus to global economic development. That said, our world is faced with rising uncertainties and destabilizing factors, and a growing backlash against globalization. How to boost the new drivers to secure sustained growth of the global economy is a key area of concern for all of us. In this context, the theme of this Annual Meeting, “Shaping Innovative Societies in the Fourth Industrial Revolution”, cannot be more relevant.
In his keynote speech at the World Economic Forum early last year, President Xi Jinping stated China’s firm commitment to economic globalization, free trade and innovation-driven development. As we mark the 40th anniversary of reform and opening-up in China this year, we have introduced a host of major steps to deepen reform, expand opening-up and advance innovation, aiming to promote both China’s own development and global growth.
To boost the new drivers of global growth, we need to firmly uphold economic globalization, which has provided fertile ground for the new industrial revolution. The liberalization of trade and investment and the free flow of factors of production and innovation that accompanied economic globalization have fostered highly interconnected global industrial, innovation and value chains, and enabled the expansion of the new industrial revolution at a speed, scale and depth unseen before. New technologies and new industries emerged in clusters and grew exponentially, making breakthroughs across a wide range of sectors. Economies around the world got involved in this process to varying degrees, with deepening interconnectedness and interdependence. One case in point is the fact that 40% of China’s exports in goods and two thirds of its high-tech exports came from foreign-invested enterprises in China.
The rules-based multilateral trading system is the bedrock of economic globalization and free trade, and provides important safeguards for win-win outcomes. The authority and efficacy of the system should be respected and protected. Some WTO rules do need to be improved. The right approach is for all to sit down as equals to find solutions. Throughout this process, the fundamental principles of free trade should be upheld, the interests and concerns of all parties be accommodated, and the broadest possible consensus on reform be built up. Taking a unilateralist approach will not solve any problems. As no one can thrive on his own in the new industrial revolution, we must draw on each other’s comparative strengths and act together to nurture and promote innovation for shared benefits. Governments need to support businesses in collaborating on innovation in line with market principles and commercial rules, while fully protecting their intellectual property rights. Greater government-business synergy will facilitate the new industrial revolution.
To boost the new drivers of global growth in the new industrial revolution, we need to make development more inclusive. Different from previous industrial revolutions, the new round of industrial revolution is enabled by online platforms in a ubiquitously networked environment. Lower thresholds of entry have presented all with an equal and accessible opportunity to participate and benefit. Empowered by the Internet, anyone, no matter in urban or rural areas, can easily start his own business, make innovations and create wealth. As we can see, the development of smart phone applications has spawned massive industrial clusters, as tens of thousands of people upload their technical solutions and industrial application proposals onto open platforms. To turn possibilities into reality, an enabling environment is indispensable. It is imperative to enhance institutional arrangements for equal rights, equal opportunities and fair rules, follow a balanced and inclusive development approach, make education universal, and better support the vulnerable groups so as to achieve more inclusive development that benefits all.
To boost the new drivers of global growth in the new industrial revolution, we need to pursue integrated innovation and development. The new industrial revolution holds out infinite promise. Today, natural sciences, social sciences and liberal arts are deeply entwined as never before. And different sectors, enterprises and communities can leverage each other’s strengths like never before. Artificial intelligence cuts across an array of disciplines such as algorithm, bionics, sensor technology, and ethics.
E-commerce is another example of integrated innovation and development. Transaction platforms, which are set up by big companies and joined by micro, small and medium-sized enterprises as well as individual business owners, have created conditions for the direct matching of supply and demand, production and sales, resulting in a large number of new forms of business, new models and new jobs. We must seize this momentum to promote wider application of the Internet Plus model, clear the hindrance to optimized allocation of production factors, and establish more inter-disciplinary, multi-stakeholder innovation platforms to open up broader space for the development of the new growth drivers.