Ladies and gentlemen,
In 1978, China embarked on the great journey of reform and opening-up. Over the past 40 years, the Chinese people, with vision, hard work and perseverance, have forged ahead and taken a historic stride. We have stood up, become prosperous and grown in strength. We the Chinese nation are moving forward toward great rejuvenation.
– Over the past 40 years, the Chinese people have blazed a new trail and made solid progress. With enterprise and grit and through self-reliance, we have turned China into the world’s second biggest economy, making tremendous advances in our country’s development and the improvement of people’s lives. It is the relentless efforts of the Chinese people that have made China what it is today!
– Over the past 40 years, the Chinese people have embraced the world with open arms. China has pursued its development through opening-up. As a result, China’s import and export of goods have grown by 198 times and those of services by over 147 times. China has attracted more than US$2 trillion in foreign investment. It has become the world’s biggest trader of goods, the biggest tourism market and a major trading partner with over 130 countries.
– Over the past 40 years, the Chinese people have pursued development with a single focus and made lives better for ourselves. Guided by a people-centered development philosophy, between 1978 and 2017 China raised its per capita disposable income by 22.8 times, lifted 740 million people out of poverty and doubled the number of jobs created. We have achieved free compulsory primary and middle-school education nationwide and established the world’s biggest social safety net. Thanks to these accomplishments, our people now feel more secure and have a greater sense of fulfillment and contentment.
– Over the past 40 years, the Chinese people have pursued our own development to achieve development for all. China has stayed on the path of peaceful development, got actively involved in global economic governance, and actively supported other developing countries in their development. We have implemented responsible macroeconomic policies and contributed a significant share of global growth. We have played our part in responding to the Asian financial crisis and the global financial crisis. By so doing, China has contributed its vision and input to building a community with a shared future for mankind.
Five years ago, I announced the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), which aims to enhance connectivity among countries and regions, promote interconnected development, and create new space for global growth. This Initiative has won wide international endorsement in the past five years. China has signed BRI cooperation documents with over 140 countries and international organizations, and a large number of cooperation projects have been launched under this Initiative.
Let me make this clear: the BRI is an open platform for cooperation. It is guided by the principle of consultation and collaboration for shared benefits. It is not designed to serve any hidden geopolitical agenda, it is not targeted against anyone and it does not exclude anyone. It is not an exclusive club that is closed to non-members, nor is it a “trap” as some people have labeled it. Rather, the BRI is a major and transparent initiative with which China shares opportunities and pursues common development with the rest of the world. In April next year, China will host the second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation in Beijing, and we welcome members of the Asia-Pacific business community to this event.
As we look back over the four decades of reform and opening-up, we in China are more convinced than ever before that only through reform and opening-up can China develop itself. Going forward, China will take an even more responsible approach, be even more open and inclusive, and strive to achieve even higher quality of growth. By doing so, as it develops itself, China will make greater contributions to the common prosperity of the world.
China will continue to significantly expand market access, strengthen IPR protection, and do more to increase imports. Since the beginning of this year, China has announced a host of new measures for further opening-up, which include the following: creating a more attractive investment and business environment, significantly lowering the tariffs for 1,449 consumer goods and 1,585 industrial goods, further cutting the tariffs for automobiles and auto parts to 13.8 percent and 6 percent respectively, and eliminating tariffs on all imported anti-cancer drugs. With a new round of tariff cuts coming into effect on 1 November, China’s overall tariff rates have been reduced to 7.5 percent, lower than the majority of developing countries and beyond the commitment China made upon its accession to the WTO. China has released a new negative list on foreign investment, and will further open up finance, automobiles, aircraft, ships and other sectors. According to a recent World Bank report, China has moved up over 30 places in the ease of doing business ranking over the past year and is among the economies with the most significant improvement. China views all companies, both Chinese and foreign, as equals. China welcomes and encourages fair competition among them, and will fully protect their legitimate rights and interests.
A week ago, the first China International Import Expo (CIIE) was successfully held in Shanghai. It was attended by 172 countries, regions and international organizations, over 3,600 companies, and more than 400,000 Chinese and foreign buyers. Deals worth US$57.8 billion were sealed. The Hongqiao International Economic and Trade Forum, held as part of the Expo, attracted over 4,500 leading personalities from various sectors around the world. With such actual steps, China has demonstrated its commitment to trade liberalization and opening-up of its market. I wish to welcome you all to the second CIIE to be held next year. I am confident that the large market of China, with a population of close to 1.4 billion, will be a source of dynamic growth for the global economy.
Many of you present today have witnessed, contributed to and benefited from China’s reform and opening-up, and have forged a special bond with China. The business community is an important force driving the economic development of the Asia-Pacific and the wider world. As entrepreneurs, you should bring out your best and ride the waves of economic globalization. I hope you will continue to share your insights with decision makers, encourage countries to adopt positive and practical policies and carry out extensive economic and technological cooperation. Together, we can open a new horizon for the common development and prosperity of the Asia-Pacific and the world at large.
Ladies and gentlemen,
We APEC member economies are brought together by the Pacific Ocean. I was looking at the vast ocean when I boarded the ship, and it struck me that we are all indeed fellow passengers in the same boat. Let us keep the steering wheel steady and paddle in the right direction so that the ship of the global economy will brave winds, break waves and sail to a brighter future.