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Remarks by Consul General Zhao Weiping at the 14th Annual US-China Trade Conference
2013/11/05

Sheraton Chicago Hotel & Towers, Chicago,

Nov 4, 2013

President Siva Yam,
Ladies and Gentlemen:

First, I wish to thank President Yam for inviting me to attend this wonderful lunch. I hope next time there will be lunch only and no speech.

I congratulate the US-China Chamber of Commerce on hosting the 14th Annual US-China Trade Conference. I express my appreciation to all of you for your attention to China's economic development and your support for China-US economic relations.

Today, I just want to emphasize one point. That is, if we want to get an accurate understanding of China's economic development and future orientation of China-US economic relations, we have to recognize the firm will of China in continuously pushing forward the process of reform and opening-up.

China is the only country in the world which has conducted reform and opening-up for more than 30 years and is still pursuing this course with even greater enthusiasm.

As a matter of fact, China is embracing another wave of reform and opening-up. President Xi Jinping stated a couple of days ago that the upcoming Third Plenary Session of the 18th CPC Central Committee will put forward a blueprint of comprehensive reforms and make overall arrangement on deepening reform in an all-around manner.

Recently, there have been many guesses on what concrete reform measures will be unveiled at the Session. I don't want to make any guess. There is no need to guess any more, since the answers will be known in just a few days.

However, I wish to recall some of the major measures of reform and opening-up the Chinese government has taken so far this year, from which we may get some hints.

It is very obvious that one of the top priorities of China's reform is to intensify efforts in transforming government functions and giving the market a bigger play in national economy. Earlier this year, the Chinese government announced its plan to cut the existing 1,700 administrative approval items by at least one-third in five years, and 334 items have already been abolished or delegated to the lower level of government since the beginning of this year.

Another focus is to accelerate the reform of economic structure by developing a mixed economy, relaxing market access in the sectors of finance, oil, electricity, railway, telecommunications, resources development, public facilities and services, encouraging more investment by the private sector, and providing greater space for the development of enterprises of various ownerships.

Equally important, China will speed up fiscal, financial and price reforms. China has recently cancelled the floor limit for lending interest rates and launched direct trading between RMB and Australian dollars. Price reforms have been taken in the key areas of oil, natural gas, electricity, coal, railway cargo transportation and water resources.

Last but not least, China is determined to make greater strides in further opening-up to the outside world. So far this year, China has signed FTA agreements with Switzerland and Iceland, and discussed with ASEAN leaders on how to upgrade the China-ASEAN Free Trade Area. In July, China and the US agreed to start substantive discussing of the Bilateral Investment Treaty on the basis of pre-establishment national treatment with a "negative list" approach. Last month, China (Shanghai) Pilot Free Trade Zone was officially launched, which was designed to field-test new approaches to deepening reforms and accelerating opening-up for the whole China.

Just as President Xi Jinping pointed out, there is "only a progressive tense, no perfect tense" for reform and opening-up. Reform and opening-up has been and will continue to be the largest driving force for China's development. The Chinese Government, fully aware of all the challenges China is facing today, is determined to overcome all the difficulties by deepening reform and opening-up. We have many reasons to be optimistic about the future of China, since this is a country which will never feel self-complacent and always concentrate on improving itself.

The fast growth of China-US economic relations during the past thirty years is to a large extent a result of China's reform and opening-up policy. The further reform and opening-up of China will surely provide new opportunities for the trade and economic cooperation between China and the US as well as for the business of all of you.

In future, not only will the bilateral trade in goods between China and the US continue to grow steadily, but also the trade in services will greatly expand its share in the total volume of bilateral trade. The good momentum of Chinese investment in the US will continue, and the US investors will find more new opportunities in China.

There will still be trade frictions from time to time. But disputes will be properly managed, so long as both sides refrain from politicizing trade issues and stick to dialogues on the basis of equality and mutual respect.

Several days ago, I met in Indiana a local businessman. He told me that he visited China for the first time in 1984 as a representative of Cummins. At that time, he was quite skeptical of whether China's reform and opening-up will work. The enormous changes in China and China-US economic relations in the past 30 years have been totally out of his expectation.

I hope all of us will be well prepared this time. I do believe that the future development of China and China-US economic relations will also exceed the imagination of many of us.

Thank you.

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