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Remarks By Consul General Wang Shuying At Newry Chamber of Commerce & Trade Lunch Reception
2018/06/08

Dear Mr. Paul Convery, President of the Newry Chamber of Commerce and Trade,

Dear Mr Mark Murnin, Chair of Newry, Mourne and Down District Council,

Dear Mr. Liam Hannaway, CEO of Newry, Mourne and Down District Council,

Ladies and gentlemen,

Thank you so much for your warm hospitality. I am very pleased to meet with local friends. Surely both of us would benefit from today's gethering.

First I wish to present the general picture of China's economy.

As you may know, this year marks the 40th anniversary of China's reform and opening up. In the past 40 years, China has successfully found a suitable development path and has harvested remarkable achievements in terms of economy and society. China's GDP was only over 148 billion US Dollars in 1978, but reached nearly 6 trillion US dollars in 2010 and exceeded US$12 trillion in 2017. China has maintained the world's second largest economy since 2010.

Now as the world's largest manufacturing and trading country of goods, China's economy is transforming from high-speed to high-quality growth,aiming to improve the productivity, creativeness and competitiveness of the whole economy.

With a population of more than 1.3 billion, the second largest importer and consumer in the world, China's scale of consumption continues expanding, maintaining one of the most striving power of economy. In recent years, China's contribution to world economic growth has exceeded 30%, acting as a major stabilizer and power source for the world economy. In 2017, China's foreign direct investment amounted to US$124.6 billion. Overseas Chinese-funded enterprises paid more than US$30 billion taxes to their host countries, creating 1.35 million local jobs. In the next five years, China is expected to import over 10 trillion US dollars of goods and services, the amount of Chinese outbound tourists is estimated to reach 700 million from 130 million last year. That would create huge opportunity for mutual cooperation between China and rest of the world.

But it should also be noted that China's GDP per capita is only $ 8,836 in 2017, ranking the 70th in the world, which is far behind the UK's GDP per capita of nearly £30,000, equal to $39,000. In this sense, China is still a developing countries, and in particular the world's largest and most populous developing country. China is still confronting with many problems and challenges, and the task of development remains onerous.

Second, I wish to confirm that China will embrace the world in more open mind.

Opening-up was the key to China's economic success over the past 40 years and in the same vein, China's high-quality development in the future can only be achieved with greater openness. Comprehensive reform and open-up policy has been clearly set as a national strategy. At Boao Forum for Asia (BFA) Annual Conference this April, Chinese President Xi Jinping declared that China's door of opening-up will not be closed and will only open even wider, and the concrete measures are committed and gradually coming into places.

Let us mention a few:

First, significantly broaden market access. Raising foreign equity caps in the financial services including banking, securities and insurance industries; fully opening manufacturing by easing the foreign equity restrictions on automobiles, ships and aircraft industries. This April, China released the "Measures for the Administration of Foreign-invested Securities Companies", the latest move of further opening on China Securities Industry.

Second, create a more attractive investment environment. Enhancing alignment with international economic and trading rules, increasing transparency, strengthening intellectual property protection. In the first half of this year, China will will complete revision of the negative list of foreign investment and fully implement the pre-establishment national treatment plus a negative list management system.

Third, take the initiative to expand imports. Significantly lowering the import tariffs for automobiles and some other products. Since this July, China will reduce tarrifs on importing consumer's goods, involving 1,449 tax items, from 15.7% to 6.9%, speeding up to the "WTO Government Procurement Agreement". At the same time, developed countries are expected to stop imposing restrictions on normal and reasonable trade of high-tech products with China.

Further more, China will host the International Import Exposition (CIIE) in Shanghai this November. It is a first national level expo with the theme of import in worldwide. This will be China's major effort to open up its market to the world and to support the economic globalization. The import expo is open to all British businesses who wish to introduce their products and services to China's market, and build their brand names in China and other countries.

The CIIE will set up National Pavilion for Trade and Investment as well as Pavilions for Enterprise & Business exhibition. Both Chinese and foreign professional purchasers are warmly invited. At present, more than 1,000 companies from over 100 countries have registered to participate, including numerous Global top 500 companies. So far at least 25 UK companies have confirmed their participation. China sincerely welcome UK as well as NI to share the dividend of China's fast growth.

Third, I wish to propose that let us join effort to build up the "Golden Era" 2.0 of China-UK relationship.

At the beginning of this year, Prime Minister May paid a successful visit to China, the leaders of our two countries agreed to build "Golden Era" 2.0 of China-UK relationship with more strategic, practical, global and inclusive bilateral relations. On the bilateral level, our two countries will expand cooperation in the framework of the Belt and Road Initiative. On the global arena, our two countries will join hands to facilitate free trade and open economy.

Last year, the China-UK bilateral trade volume exceeded 79 billion US dollars, grew by 6.2%. China is UK's second largest trading partner outside the EU, and UK is China's second largest trading partner within the EU.

Against this background, China-NI cooperation has made new breakthroughs and progress. Last December, the third China-UK Regional Leaders Summit was successfully held in Belfast. China's Liaoning and Hubei provinces respectively signed agreement of friendship relation with NI. China's ChangChun and Newry signed MOU of friendly relations.

In May, Mayor of Londonderry City and Strabane District Council, Cllr. McHugh justly visited China's Dalian. The two cities signed an agreement on friendly cooperation, intending to deepen cooperation in fields of culture and education, information technology, tourism and agriculture.

This September China's Shenyang will host the 18th Mayors Conference of World Winter Cities. Lord Mayor of Belfast plans to attend the event. This October Dalian will host the Forth China-UK Regional Leaders Summit. The Mayor of Londonderry promised to attend it. We also highly expect Chair for Newry, Mourne and Down District Council will visit China's Changchun as well as participate in the Summit in Dalian.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

This morning, I visited MJM Group, congratulating its initial cooperation with China and will visit Norbrook Laboratories Ltd this afternoon. I hope to see many more successful collaboration later on. I wish a prosperous future for region and its people.

Thank you very much!

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