|To further deepen win-win cooperation through convergence of industrial and business power|
|--Speech at Luncheon Hosted by US Business Leaders, Minnesota|
(October 8, 2016)
Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is my pleasure to visit Twin Cities and meet the local business leaders in Minnesota. This is my first visit to Minnesota. First of all, I would like to express my sincere gratitude to University of Minnesota, and Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) for your warm hospitality and considerate arrangements. Please allow me here to extend my respect to those of you for your longstanding efforts in promoting economic & trade cooperation and friendship between China and the State of Minnesota.
The economic and trade cooperation serves as an important foundation for building a new model of major-country relations between China and the United States, and a critical driving force for a sustainable, healthy and stable Sino-US relationship. Although the financial crisis continues to linger on and deal a heavy blow to the China and U.S. economy, we are pleased to see that with joint efforts of both sides, the Sino-US economic and trade relations have been closer with each other. In 2015, the bilateral trade volume amounted to a new high of $560 billion, making China the largest trading partner of the US for the first time, a huge rebound from only $2 billion at the early years when diplomatic relations was established. The two-way investment stock reaches more than $150 billion, and over 80,000 jobs were created by the Chinese investment. Last year, the number of Chinese visitors to the US reached 2.6 million with a total consumption of as much as $20 billion.
Over the past years, trade and investment relations between China and the Midwest have been growing in a good momentum with fruitful results. In 2015, Minnesota’s trade with China reached $11.8 billion, making China its 3rd largest export market. From 2000 to 2015, China's investment in Minnesota has accumulated to $570 million.
To me, the Sino-US economic and trade cooperation will continue to expand from a long term perspective.
Firstly, China and the US maintain a frequent high-level exchange of visits with a built-in mechanism of dialogue already in place. Two countries have established such mechanisms as the Strategic and Economic Dialogue(SED), the High Level Consultation on People-to-People Exchange (CPE), Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade (JCCT) , and other over 90 dialogues and consultations covering politics, economy, security, humanities, science & technology. These dialogues play important roles in enhancing mutual understanding and trust and promoting exchanges and cooperation in every field. The 8th round of the China-US Strategic and Economic Dialogue in June 2016 has yielded a long list of as many as 120 outcomes .
Meanwhile, sub-national exchange & cooperation has been flourishing. Let me take province-state cooperation as an example. 23 provinces and cities in China have established six working groups on trade and investment with states of California, Iowa, Texas, Michigan, Washington and Chicago. Last November at the 26th JCCT, China’s Ministry of Commerce and the US Treasury Department signed a MOU on the “Establishment of a Framework for Promoting Sino-US Local Trade and Investment Cooperation”. This shows that both governments not only attach high importance to economic and trade cooperation, but also promote it with active moves. These efforts and closer ties would bring tangible benefits to two peoples.
Secondly, the development plans implemented by China and the United States would provide new opportunities for bilateral trade and investment. The US is implementing the National Export Initiative and trying hard to attract FDI, attempting to making progress in fields like new energy, new materials, environmental protection technology, high-speed railway, and other emerging industries.
Likewise, China is striving to maintain a steady and healthy economic growth by focusing on sustainable development. While working hard on economic restructuring and upgrading industries, China is expanding domestic demand, consumer demand in particular, so as to transform its growth model. Areas like international production capacity cooperation, renewable and clean energy, are expected to become new source of growth for China-US economic and trade cooperation, and partnership on technological cooperation and business in particular.
Thirdly, we can join hands in promoting global governance on economy and trade. Now China and the United States have a broad strategic consensus on improving the global economic governance framework. At the bilateral national level, the two sides are speeding up negotiations on Bilateral Investment Treaty (BIT) with on-going negotiations on the negative list. This will help improving the global investment regime. The two countries are trying their best to reach a high-quality & win-win agreement as soon as possible, so as to bring real benefits to both companies and people.
At the regional level, the two countries are engaged in different free trade agreements negotiations in the Asia-Pacific, and are exploring viable ways to build a regional free trade framework in the Asia-Pacific, which may reshape the global trade landscape.
At the global level, China will also actively engage in dialogue with the United States so as to play a more constructive role on a number of global economic and trade issues through consultation and coordination.
Fourthly, we can join hands in keeping up a sustainable and healthy global economy. Now the world economy is in a "new mediocre" era featuring weak recovery. As the two largest economies in the world, China and the United States account for one-fifth of global trade and one-third of the global GDP combined, shouldering great responsibility in stabilizing global growth. As a member of the global community, Chinese economy confronts an unprecedented downward pressure with a relatively slow growth pace. Nevertheless, China's growth rate is still among the highest in comparison with other countries. Over the past three years, China's contribution to world economic growth has been close to 30% and contribution to the global import growth rate as high as 37%, far more than other countries and regions. Meanwhile the US economy started to show signs of recovery which would accelerate the global trade. China would like to work with the US hand in hand and make joint contribution to the recovery of global economy.
With the further convergence of Sino-U.S. interests, the bilateral economic and trade ties are not only affected by the financial crisis, but also by the US domestic politics. In the election season, both protectionism and trade issues are on the rise.
Overally speaking, cooperation is the main theme between China and the US despite some discord from time to time. President Xi Jinping once said, "The Pacific is wide enough to accomodate China and the US." The key is that the two sides should continue to have effective communication and respond to each other’s concerns with a proactive attitude, so as to defuse tension and avoid conflict. Both countries should refrain from politicizing trade issues, and provide positive input to market rather than resort to undesirable actions. It is highly expected that proceeding from the general picture of bilateral ties, we can give full play to those dialogues like SED and JCCT in tackling problems timely and properly. By doing so, two sides can create favorable conditions for economic and trade cooperation, and provide more convenience for business and enterprises.
Not long ago, Premier Li Keqiang pointed out at a event hosted by the Economic Club of New York: "China still needs FDI and advanced technology and management expertise for its growth. China has been the largest recipient of FDI among developing countries for 24 years in a row. And going forward, we hope that China will remain an attractive destination for foreign investment. " We welcome more and more American companies to invest in China. While China opens up wilder to the world, there would be more areas open to FDI in China. To drive economic and trade relations between China and the US, the business field remains as a major player and strong force. I believe that through the concerted efforts of the Chinese and American business and relevant sides, we will be able tomake greater contributions to promoting new development and making fresh breakthroughs tomorrow.