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Together We Can Reach a Higher Ground
Speech by H. E. Ambassador Chen Yuming to the DI China Summit
2014/10/27

(22 October 2014, Stockholm)

Mr. Chairman,

Ladies and gentlemen:

It is my great pleasure to meet you today.

First of all, I wish to express my sincere thanks to DI, the largest business newspaper in the Nordic Region, for your contribution over the years in promoting economic and trade cooperation between China and Sweden.

By sponsoring the DI China Summits in the past years, you have brought China's economic and social development to the limelight and facilitated understanding about China by the Swedish people.

We appreciate your global vision and strategic insight and are willingly responsive to your interest in China's development. May I advise: to understand China, you need to get hold of 3 key words:

Firstly, "growth".

Some of you may say that China's growth now is far slower than before. What I want to say is, when observing the Chinese economy, you need not just focus on its short-term performance or the performance of a particular sector. Rather, you need to look at the general trend, the overall picture and the total score.

From today's perspective, the improved economic quality and efficiency is very important for China and the world in the future decade, and bear greater significance than the GDP growth itself.

Now we are getting closer to our goals. We see continued proportional rise of service industry, the rapid growth of emerging industries such as e-commerce, logistics. The growth of high-tech industries and equipment manufacturing are faster than the entire industry.

We also see encouraging results in energy conservation and emissions reduction. In the first half of this year, energy consumption per unit of GDP was down by 4.2%, and carbon intensity was reduced by 5%, the biggest reduction for years.

We believe that the current economic growth rate is within the proper range. According to the latest statistics, over the last 3 quarters of this year, China has managed to keep its economic stability while achieving a GDP growth rate of 7.4%. The Consumer Price rose by 2.1%, and the urban per capita disposable income increased by 6.9%. The total retail sales of consumer goods is up 10.8%.

We have every reason to feel confident about the Chinese economy.

Secondly, "opening-up".

China today is an open country. We noticed that the recent anti-trust probes in China have caused some concerns in the business community of the Western countries. The point I want to make is that China's anti-trust law enforcement was not targeting any particular market entities or foreign firms.

Subjected to the probes are both domestic and foreign firms, both private and state-owned. Foreign companies represent only 10% of the total number of enterprises investigated. Anti-trust probes are only part of the efforts by China in creating market environment for fair competition and better protecting the legitimate rights and interests of consumers. China's policy of welcoming foreign investment has not changed and will not change.

China is currently relaxing market access for foreign investment in the services sector concerning finance, education, culture and medical care. China is also undertaking to carry out the mode of negative lists, streamline approval items and optimize approval procedures to make it easier for foreign businesses to invest in China.

Thirdly, "opportunities".

Last year, the Chinese people bought 21 million cars, more than a quarter of global car sales. This, of course, increased our pressure for cutting emission.

In the next five years, China is expected to import over US$10 trillion of goods, and the outbound tourists from China in the same period of time is estimated at 500 million person-times. All these means opportunities for all countries in the world, including Sweden.

On the other hand, China's economic and trade cooperation with the outside world is also flourishing. According to the statistics, China's bilateral trade volume with the United States in 2013 exceeded 520 billion US dollars, a growth of 7.5% over 2012.

Promoted by the China-EU 2020 Strategic Agenda for Cooperation formulated last November, the past year has seen hundreds of consultations, exchanges of visits, and jointly held seminars. Progress has been made in cooperation of over 70 sectors. In the first half of this year, China-Europe trade grow by 11.7% over the same period last year which means an average of 1.5 billion US dollars everyday. In this 20 minutes of my speech, tens of million-dollar deals are made.

Let me give you more figures:

Over the 10 years from 2003 to 2013, the trade volume between China and the Central Eastern Europe grew from 8.7 billion to 55.1 billions US dollars.

Over the first half of this year, China's trade volumes with Germany and UK increased by 12% and 22% respectively.

What's more, China's Free Trade Agreements with Iceland and Switzerland ushered our bilateral relations into new era.

Promoting bilateral trade is somewhat similar to sailing, either you forge ahead or you fall behind.

Sweden is outstanding as the first Western Country to establish diplomatic relations with China, and the first country to sign agreements both for trade and for investment protection. However, our bilateral trade in 2013 only recorded a 3.3% growth. We don't have reasons to fall behind, let alone miss the boat.

Ladies and gentlemen,

How could we catch the boat and sail further together? I have three suggestions:

First, to lay a sound foundation for a "win-win" relationship.

The 21st century is a century of everybody's opportunity. China's development will not be achieved by sacrificing other countries' interests. China is ready to engage in mutually supportive relationship with all the other countries around the world in the efforts of realizing the dreams we each cherish.

The Chinese Government has always attached great importance to relations with Sweden, believing that our two countries have wide and common interests. We have always highly appreciated Sweden for its open and inclusive attitude towards China's development. By going side by side to the same direction, we can achieve a win-win result and benefit from common prosperity.

We wish to make more joint efforts with you to safeguard open market, to facilitate trade and investment and oppose protectionism of any form.

Second, to let "innovation" link us together.

Sweden is one of the countries that most of the inventions and patents come from. You are leading in many scientific areas, such as IT, communication, life science, precision machinery. Innovation is your national spirit and the Government's flag-ship policy.

China is speeding up efforts of building an innovative country, emphasizing on new industries of strategic importance. We are renovating the traditional industries with high-tech and promoting our capabilities in original innovation and core technology innovation.

We welcome more Swedish high-tech companies and R & D institutions to find home in China, so as to engage more of the Chinese enterprises and research institutes in R & D of modern technology.

We also wish that the Swedish side could provide more conveniences for more qualified Chinese companies to invest in Sweden. Such two way improvement could instill new vitality to our economic cooperation.

Third, to make "enterprises" as backbone piers.

Enterprises are basic elements in the economy life. Booming enterprises invigorate the economy. Medium and small enterprises are the mainstays in our economies and we see big potentials in them. We hope that more attention and support could be given by our two governments to facilitate their cooperation.

We need to carry out the existing action plans governing medium and small companies cooperation between our two countries, make a good use of the loans ear-marked for them, and give a bigger play-ground to the intermediary bodies and organizations for trade and investment promotion.

We need to encourage more dialogue between the M & S companies and facilitate their cooperation, so that they could become new pillars in our economic cooperation.

As an old Chinese poem goes, "climbing up one more storey can give you a boundless sight". 2015 will mark the 65th anniversary of the establishment of China-Sweden diplomatic relations. Time wait for no man, we wish to work together with you, friends of the Swedish Government and Parliament, as well as the business circle, to tap opportunities of the commemorations. I do believe that, together, we can make a difference and bring our economic cooperation to a higher ground.

Thank you!

 

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