Enhanced Partnership for Greater Momentum of Growth
– Keynote Speech at the APEC CEO Summit
H.E. Xi Jinping, President of the People’s Republic of China
Lima, 19 November 2016
Chairman Alfonso Bustamante,
Leaders of the APEC Business Community,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I am delighted to meet all of you here in the beautiful city of Lima. Geographically, China and Peru are far apart. There is one entry in an English-Chinese dictionary, “from China to Peru”, which means all over the world. Indeed, today we have come to Lima from across the world in pursuit of the same goal – prosperity of the Asia-Pacific region.
Two months ago, the G20 Summit was successfully held in Hangzhou, China, during which I and other leaders had in-depth discussions and reached important consensus on major issues facing the world economy. We expressed concern about the sluggish recovery of the global economy, lack of growth momentum, backlash against economic globalization, weak trade and investment and growing global challenges that cloud the global economic outlook. We agreed that in the face of risks and challenges, all parties need to work together in a spirit of partnership for win-win outcomes, enhance macroeconomic policy coordination and find creative ways to spur growth, so as to build an open world economy that delivers strong, sustainable, balanced and inclusive growth.
The Asia-Pacific is at a critical stage in which it continues to enjoy steady growth but also faces multiple challenges. With unsurpassed economic aggregate and vibrancy, the Asia-Pacific must lead the way and take strong and coordinated actions to energize the world economy and create new opportunities for global growth.
First, we should promote an open and integrated economy. Openness is vital for prosperity of the Asia-Pacific. Thanks to APEC member economies’ commitment to trade liberalization and facilitation over the past two decades and more, trade in our region has grown by an average annual rate of 8%, more than doubling its GDP growth in the same period, thus steadily boosting the Asia-Pacific economy. In recent years, global trade has remained weak. According to WTO forecast, for the fifth consecutive year, global trade may grow slower than GDP in 2016. The Asia-Pacific is under similar pressure and is grappling with such challenges as the fragmentation of regional economic cooperation. For any regional trade arrangement to gain broad support, it must be open, inclusive and beneficial to all. We need to put in place a framework for regional cooperation featuring equal consultation, joint participation and shared benefits. Closed and exclusive arrangement is not the right choice.
In this connection, building a Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific (FTAAP), which is aptly regarded by the business community as the APEC dream, is a strategic initiative critical for the long-term prosperity of the Asia-Pacific. We should firmly pursue the FTAAP as an institutional mechanism for ensuring an open economy in the Asia-Pacific. We must energize trade and investment to drive growth, make free trade arrangements more open and inclusive and uphold the multilateral trading regime.
There is now heated debate about economic globalization, which has both supporters and skeptics. In my view, economic globalization is in keeping with the law of economics and delivers benefits to all. On the other hand, it is a double-edged sword. While driving global development, it has also created new problems and challenges that need to be dealt with. Globally, a new round of scientific, technological and industrial revolution is in the making, change in international division of labor is accelerating and global value chains are being reshaped. All these developments have added new dimensions to economic globalization.
APEC was born in the booming years of globalization and owes much of its success to globalization. We need to recognize the changing dynamics in both our respective countries and the external environment, seize new opportunities, assume new roles and create new strengths. At the same time, globalization gives rise to new issues that deserve serious study. We need to actively guide globalization, promote equity and justice and make globalization more resilient, inclusive and sustainable, so that people will get a fair share of its benefits and will see that they have a stake in it.
Second, we should enhance connectivity to achieve interconnected development. Connectivity unleashes potential and underpins interconnected development. We need to build a multi-dimensional connectivity network that covers the Asia-Pacific. After eight years, Latin America is again playing host to the APEC meeting. We should seize this opportunity to align connectivity programs of the two coasts of the Pacific to support and boost the real economy in the whole region. We should follow up on the Connectivity Blueprint adopted at the APEC meeting in Beijing in 2014 and strengthen physical, institutional and people-to-people connectivity, so as to make the Asia-Pacific fully connected by 2025.
Three years ago, I put forward the Belt and Road Initiative. It aims to strengthen connectivity to facilitate free flow of factors of production and create a platform of win-win cooperation and shared benefits for all. Over 100 countries and international organizations have joined or expressed support for the initiative, forming a strong “circle of friends” brought together by the common vision, mutual trust and friendship. The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) is up and running. The Silk Road Fund is in place. A number of major projects have been launched, generating huge economic and social benefit. Guided by the principle of extensive consultation, joint contribution and sharing benefits, China will work with other parties to promote greater connectivity of policy, road, trade, currency and people, increase complementarity of our respective development strategies and deepen mutually beneficial cooperation. By doing so, we will drive growth and improve people’s lives. China welcomes all parties to join this initiative to meet challenges, share opportunities and seek common development.
Third, we should boost reform and innovation to create more internal driving force. The Asia-Pacific has come a long way in pursuit of development, and every progress has been made as a result of reform and innovation. Reform and innovation are worthy undertakings, but they are also difficult to accomplish. As an old Chinese saying puts it, courage to take on challenge will make a difficult job easier. A proverb in Latin America says that there is no greater difficulty than lack of resolve. In 2014, APEC leaders adopted in Beijing the APEC Accord on Innovative Development, Economic Reform and Growth, charting a course of innovative development for the Asia-Pacific. This year, the G20 Hangzhou Summit adopted the G20 Blueprint on Innovative Growth, highlighting reform and innovation and formulating specific plans of action.
We APEC members should act on these consensus and principles. We should change growth model, resolutely adjust economic structure through reform and raise total-factor productivity. We should step up macro-policy coordination, firmly advance structural reform and increase positive spillovers. We should accelerate efforts to explore new development philosophy, model and pathway, energize social creativity and the market, move our industries and products up the global value chain and expand space for development.
Fourth, we should promote win-win cooperation to forge strong partnership. Partnership is an important bond for Asia-Pacific cooperation and our natural choice for meeting current challenges. While we all believe that the 21st century is the Asia-Pacific century, happiness will never befall us by itself. Two years ago, APEC leaders reviewed the course of 25 years of APEC cooperation and put forth the guiding principles for forging partnership in the Asia-Pacific. Last year in Manila, we again called for building partnership in the Asia-Pacific in the spirit of mutual trust, inclusiveness and win-win cooperation.
We should commit ourselves to building a community of shared future. This will bring us closer instead of keeping us apart. We should continue to deepen and expand cooperation in our region. We should build platforms and set rules together and share development outcomes, and any attempt to undercut or exclude each other must be rejected. We should encourage equal participation, full consultation, mutual assistance and shared development. Every effort should be made to foster a sound and stable environment for development, and no factor should be allowed to obstruct the development process of the Asia-Pacific.