Jointly Tackling Challenges for Common Development
– Keynote Speech at the Opening of the Boao Forum for Asia Annual Conference 2019
H.E. Li Keqiang, Premier of the State Council of the People’s Republic of China
Boao, 28 March 2019
Ladies and gentlemen,
It gives me great pleasure to meet friends, both old and new, at the Boao Forum for Asia Annual Conference 2019 in Hainan. I would like to extend, on behalf of the Chinese government, warm congratulations on the opening of the conference and sincere welcome to all the guests coming from afar.
The Forum, with its founding focus on Asia and a global perspective, has put forth many valuable suggestions and recommendations on major issues of public interest concerning economic and social development, evolving into an influential high-level dialogue platform for Asia and beyond. At the opening of its annual conference last year, President Xi Jinping delivered a keynote speech titled “Openness for Greater Prosperity, Innovation for a Better Future”. The conference this year has chosen a highly relevant theme of “Shared Future, Concerted Action, Common Development”. We have a shared future just like passengers on the same boat who need to help each other. We need to take concerted actions to address challenges on the basis of consultation and coordination. We need to pursue common development, which should be inclusive and delivers benefits to all. I hope you will share insights, build consensus and contribute to promoting peace, stability, development and prosperity in Asia and the world.
We meet at a time of profound and complex changes in the international landscape. World economic growth has remained in the positive territory, yet it has been weighed down by factors such as sluggish international trade and investment, and rising protectionism. New uncertainties and destabilizing factors are mounting. The situation on many fronts is intricate and volatile, compounding market unease. Major international institutions have successively revised downward their global growth forecasts, something rarely seen in recent years. Some market watchers even see the risk of global growth peaking and falling into recession.
The macro policy shifts of leading economies, characterized by continued accommodative monetary policies and somewhat expansionary fiscal policies, all point to their efforts to counteract the downward pressure. While no one should underestimate the difficulties and challenges, we must not lose faith or feel pessimistic, as we can also see many positive factors in the global economy, not least the impressive progress of the new round of technological and industrial revolution. There seems to be a contest of strength between downward pressure on the one hand and growth momentum on the other. How things play out depends on the judgment and actions of all stakeholders. Let me share with you the following observations:
– It is time to jointly seize the opportunities and rise to the challenges. Decades of progress in economic globalization has shaped a sophisticated international division of labor and linked up the industrial, innovation and value chains of various countries, making them ever more interdependent in economic development. In the face of world economic headwinds and other common challenges, no country can stay immune or resolve all the problems. It is imperative to seek an inclusive path of mutually beneficial cooperation. We need to embrace the vision of a community with a shared future for mankind, advocate the spirit of partnership, and inject greater confidence and strength to the world economy with an open mind, an inclusive approach and concerted actions.
– It is time to work together for common development. The trajectory of the world economy after the Second World War shows that multilateralism is the right way to ensure lasting prosperity and development. All parties need to jointly uphold the UN-centered international system and rules-based multilateral trading system, and promote trade and investment liberalization and facilitation. China advocates free trade because it is the foundation and precondition for international trade. China also stands for fair trade and has taken concrete actions to uphold fairness and equity, the lack of which would make trade unsustainable. That said, fair trade must reflect the multilateral, inclusive and non-discriminatory principles. As for the specific issues, they should be addressed through equal consultation in the larger framework of free trade in order to reach a win-win solution. This way, we will be able to sustain the growth of the global economy and global trade.
– It is time to actively advance reform in the global governance system. Given the new dynamics in the world political and economic architecture, we need to move the global governance system toward a fairer and more equitable direction in order to provide stronger support to global growth. Reform does not mean starting all over again, or serving the interests of a handful of countries. China supports necessary reforms to the WTO. The organization’s basic principles and core values must be adhered to in the reform process. The interests and concerns of all parties must be effectively addressed. And the differences in countries’ development levels must be factored in. In particular, much attention needs to be given to protecting the rights and interests of developing countries and narrowing the North-South gap. We need to resolve differences through dialogues in the spirit of consultation and mutual accommodation, find the broadest possible common ground, and work together to create an enabling international environment for development.