Remarks at the Opening Ceremony of the World Economic Forum on ASEAN
12 September 2018
Your Excellency General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong,
Your Excellency Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc,
Your Excellency Executive Chairman, Professor Klaus Schwab,
Your Excellencies Heads of State, Government and Delegation,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I am delighted to come to the beautiful city of Hanoi to join you at the World Economic Forum on ASEAN. On behalf of the Chinese government, I wish to extend warm congratulations on the opening of the forum.
Ten years after the outbreak of the international financial crisis, we are meeting here under the theme “ASEAN 4.0: Entrepreneurship and the Fourth Industrial Revolution”. This forum is of special importance to our efforts to deepen practical cooperation among nations and consolidate new growth drivers in the ASEAN region, and will lend new impetus to the world economy.
Now the world economy is picking up, but uncertainties and destabilizing factors are on the rise, particularly as some individual country’s protectionist and unilateral measures are gravely undermining the rules-based multilateral trading regime, posing a most serious hazard to the world economy. In such a complex environment, China stands ready to work with ASEAN and other countries across the world to seize the opportunity of the new industrial revolution, meet the challenges together and help develop an innovative, open, interconnected and inclusive global economy.
First, we need to uphold openness and mutual benefits. What we could learn from the history is that self-isolation will lead nowhere and only openness for all represents the right way forward. In an increasingly “smaller” world, the interests and future of all countries are closely intertwined. We must categorically reject protectionism and unilateralism, firmly support multilateralism, uphold the open world economy and multilateral trading regime, and promote trade and investment liberalization and facilitation.
Second, we need to promote innovation-driven development. Innovation is the first and foremost driving force for development. Only with a strong commitment to innovation-driven development can countries become front-runners in the new industrial revolution and achieve lasting economic prosperity. We need to accelerate structural reform, make innovative improvement on development visions, policy measures and growth models, advance the replacement of old growth drivers, and unlock the potential of world economic growth in the long run.
Third, we need to pursue inclusive growth. We need to build synergy between our own development and the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. We need to strengthen macro policy coordination. We need to increase input in education, health care and job creation to deliver the benefits of economic growth and technological advance to more countries and more groups of people and continuously enable our people to enjoy a happier life.
Fourth, we need to pursue interconnected development. This year marks the fifth anniversary of the Belt and Road Initiative put forward by President Xi Jinping. For the past five years, China’s trade in goods has totaled more than US$5 trillion with countries relevant to the Belt and Road Initiative. China has invested more than US$60 billion in these countries in cumulative terms, creating hundreds of thousands of local jobs. China stands ready to explore new areas and foster new highlights for cooperation with all countries under the Belt and Road Initiative with a view to achieving common prosperity.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
ASEAN is China’s good neighbor, and a good partner for Belt and Road cooperation. Strengthening partnership with ASEAN is always a top priority in China’s foreign policy. As China and ASEAN celebrate the 15th anniversary of strategic partnership this year, our relations are entering a new era of improvement and upgrading at a quicker pace. To build an even closer community with a shared future, China will further advance mutually beneficial cooperation with ASEAN countries in the following aspects:
First, building synergy between our development programs. With a view to promoting the long-term growth of China-ASEAN relations, China will work with ASEAN to formulate the China-ASEAN Strategic Partnership Vision 2030, build greater synergy between the Belt and Road Initiative and ASEAN’s development programs, and advance a number of flagship and key projects to deepen regional cooperation.
Second, expanding economic and trade ties. China will join hands with ASEAN countries to tap new areas of trade growth and expand investment and industrial cooperation. We welcome the participation of ASEAN countries in the first China International Import Expo to be held in Shanghai this November where competitive ASEAN products will be promoted.
Third, deepening cooperation in innovation. This year is the China-ASEAN Innovation Year. China’s innovation-driven development strategy and ASEAN’s “Innovation-led Growth” share the same vision. China will support and participate in the ASEAN Smart Cities Network and enhance our cooperation in digital economy, artificial intelligence and modern supply chain.
Fourth, advancing regional economic integration. China is ready to work with ASEAN to deliver the outcomes of the upgraded China-ASEAN Free Trade Area on the ground as early as possible and conclude negotiations on the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) at an early date. We will strengthen Lancang-Mekong Cooperation and upgrade cooperation with BIMP-EAGA, which will help ASEAN countries narrow the development gap and lend fresh impetus to regional economic integration and sustainable development.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
China’s economy has maintained steady and sound growth in recent years. In the first half of this year, China’s GDP grew by 6.8 percent year-on-year, registering a growth rate between 6.7 percent and 6.9 percent for 12 quarters in a row. In the first six months, final consumption expenditure and the service sector contributed 78.5 percent and 60.5 percent of economic growth respectively, indicating an improved economic structure; new growth drivers contributed over one third of economic growth. With ever-stronger new growth drivers and more market potential unleashed, China’s economy is embracing an even brighter future.
This year, China marks the 40th anniversary of reform and opening-up. As Chinese President Xi Jinping pointed out at the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC), China will not close its door to the world; we will only become more and more open. At the Boao Forum for Asia Annual Conference 2018 last April, he announced a number of major measures for further opening-up. These measures are now being implemented, and some of them have already paid off. China’s resolve to open its doors still wider will not change, even when the external situation changes. China will consistently pursue opening-up at its own pace. This will offer important opportunities for ASEAN countries and beyond. Foreign enterprises are most welcome to work with Chinese businesses to seize opportunities, tap potentials, and broaden and deepen cooperation for win-win outcomes.
The World Economic Forum is an important platform for the discussion of global issues. For many years, China has enjoyed sound cooperation with the forum. In six days, the 12th Summer Davos session will open in Tianjin, China. I believe this meeting here and the session in Tianjin will reinforce each other and contribute to the sustained growth of the world economy.
In conclusion, I wish the World Economic Forum on ASEAN a full success!