|Remarks at the 18th Annual US-China Trade Conference of U.S.-China Chamber of Commerce|
Dear President Yam,
The 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC) has just concluded, electing a new central leading group and adopting the basic strategy of China's development for the next five years or even longer. President Trump will pay a state visit to China from Nov. 8 to 10, becoming the first foreign head of state to visit China after the 19th CPC National Congress. We are all looking forward to the fruitful results of this visit and a closer Sino-US relationship. With this background, I am honored to have this opportunity to share with you my thoughts on the Belt and Road initiative and the cooperation between China and the U.S.
Five years ago, a new round of scientific, technological and industrial revolution was in the making. New growth drivers were gaining momentum. National interests were increasingly intertwined. Peace, development and win-win cooperation had become the trend of our times. On the other hand, the deep-seated problems in global development were yet to be addressed effectively. Global economic growth was not on solid ground. International trade and investment were sluggish. Economic globalization was encountering some headwinds. Development had become more uneven. China was of the view that individual countries need to coordinate national policies and make good use of economic factors and development resources on a greater global scale. Only in this way can we build synergy and promote peace, stability and common development in the world. In this context, in September 2013, when President Xi Jinping delivered a speech at Nazarbayev University in Kazakhstan, he proposed that in order to build closer economic ties among countries, deepen mutual cooperation and broaden the space for development, an innovative cooperation model can be used to jointly build the "Silk Road Economic Belt." In a speech at Indonesian parliament in October 2013, President Xi Jinping proposed that China was willing to strengthen maritime cooperation with ASEAN countries in order to jointly build the “21st Century Maritime Silk Road”.
In the past five years, the Belt and Road initiative has developed from planning to practice, from vision to action, making progress and results far beyond expectations. The circle of friends has been expanding and number of partners has increased. The Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation was held in Beijing in May this year. Heads of state and government from 29 countries, and more than 1,500 delegates from over 130 countries and over 70 international organizations attended the forum. It’s fair to say that the Belt and Road initiative is gaining recognition from more and more countries and international organizations.
International cooperation under the Belt and Road initiative emphasizes building of an inter-connected infrastructure network and cooperation on industrial capacity and equipment manufacturing, and aims to break the bottlenecks hampering development and promote growth of the real economy. It’s of high importance for fostering new drivers of growth, boosting internal drivers of growth and bolstering global growth, and will help make globalization more inclusive and beneficial for all. Total trade between China and countries along the Belt and Road from 2013 to 2017 has exceeded 3 trillion dollars, and China’s investment in these countries has surpassed 50 billion dollars. Chinese companies have set up 56 economic cooperation zones in over 20 countries, generating some 1.1 billion dollars of tax revenue and 180,000 jobs for them.
The Belt and Road Initiative is rooted in history, upholding the Silk Road Spirit of peace and cooperation, openness and inclusiveness, mutual learning and mutual benefit. The Belt and Road Initiative originates from China but belongs to the world. It involves countries in different regions, at different development stages and with different cultures. It is a platform of open and inclusive cooperation and a public good we jointly provide to the world, highlighting the concept of building the community of shared future of mankind advocated by China.
In the report of the 19th CPC National Congress, the Belt and Road is mentioned several times. President Xi said, “China adheres to the fundamental national policy of opening up and pursues development with its doors open wide. China will actively promote international cooperation through the Belt and Road Initiative. In doing so, we hope to achieve policy, infrastructure, trade, financial, and people-to-people connectivity and thus build a new platform for international cooperation to create new drivers of shared development.” “China will not close its door to the world; we will only become more and more open. We should pursue the Belt and Road Initiative as priority, give equal emphasis to ‘bring in’ and ‘going global’, follow the principle of achieving shared growth through discussion and collaboration, and increase openness and cooperation in building innovation capacity. With these efforts, we hope to make new ground in opening China further through links running eastward and westward, across land and over sea.” The newly-amended CPC Constitution also states that "following the principle of achieving shared growth through discussion, to pursue the Belt and Road Initiative". These fully demonstrate that under the leadership of the CPC, China attaches great importance to the Belt and Road Initiative and has strong determination and confidence of pursuing the Belt and Road international cooperation. China's sustainable development will also inject a strong impetus into the Belt and Road Initiative.
The Belt and Road Initiative has expanded the space for Sino-U.S. cooperation. Most of the countries along the Belt and Road are developing countries, and the lack of infrastructure limits the development potential of these countries. With the Belt and Road initiative, these countries’ economic potential will be unleashed, and new market demand will be created. U.S. commodities and capitals can better enter these regions. These newly unleashed potentials will only bring "win-win" results to Chinese and U.S. companies. It can be said that in the 65 countries and 93 ports and cities along the Belt and Road, there are enough opportunities of cooperation for both Chinese and U.S. companies to seize.
Infrastructure development is a priority area in the Belt and Road Initiative, and now a multi-dimensional infrastructure network is taking shape. Some US companies have joint hands with Chinese companies to make a fortune, such as Caterpillar. Its latest third-quarter revenue soared by 25% to 11.41 billion dollars, and its Asia-Pacific market is the best performing region with the third-quarter sales rising by 57% to 1.29 billion dollars, growing for seven consecutive quarters largely due to increased demand from China.
In pursuing the Belt and Road Initiative, there is a great demand for financing. It is indispensable to expand the financing channels, innovate financing methods and reduce financing costs. The U.S. has a very advanced producer service industry with special advantages in finance, insurance, logistics and information services. These service institutions can have access to these important areas following the Belt and Roads Initiative. Their work can enable relevant manufacturing enterprises to operate better and international investors to make better and more investments. These U.S. producer services institutions will also embrace important opportunities themselves.
The Belt and Road initiative is an important opportunity for Sino-U.S. cooperation. The United States and China are the largest and second largest economies in the world respectively. As we unite to move forward with the Belt and Road Initiative, the mutual understanding and mutual trust between China and the U.S will reach a new height. Both China and the United States will make new contributions to building the community of shared future of mankind, and to building an inclusive, clean and beautiful world that enjoys lasting peace, common security and common prosperity..