Build Confidence in Our Way Forward— Speech by Ambassador Qin Gang at the Gala 2021 of the US-China Business Council
2021/12/02 23:47

(Photo taken by Kaveh Sardari on Dec 2)

Dr. Kissinger,

Under Secretary Fernandez,

Representative Miller,

Mr. Linebarger,

Ambassador Roy,

Ambassador Allen,

Friends of the Business Community,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Good evening. It is my great pleasure to attend the Gala of the US-China Business Council. The theme of this event is “The Way Forward”. To open up a way forward, we need to look forward, think forward and have confidence. I give my tribute to Dr. Kissinger for his farsightedness and wisdom, I share the vision and objectiveness that Ambassador Roy has in China-US relations, and I echo Ambassador Allen’s remarks on the importance of trade and business. The key word I want to highlight is confidence.

First, we must keep our confidence in China’s high-quality development. This year marks the centenary of the Communist Party of China. The 6th Plenary Session of the 19th CPC Central Committee held recently has comprehensively reviewed the major achievements and historical experience of the CPC in the past 100 years. A very important piece of the experience is putting people first. Fulfilling the people’s aspiration for a better life is a mission of the CPC. It also provides the biggest driving force for China’s development. Thanks to generations of hard work, the Chinese people have eliminated absolute poverty and built a moderately prosperous society. We are on our way forward to fully build a modern socialist country and achieve common prosperity. To this end, China is fostering a new development paradigm, with domestic circulation as the mainstay and domestic and international circulations reinforcing each other, and promoting high-quality development. In the first three quarters of this year, China’s economy grew by 9.8% year-on-year, higher than the growth rates of both the global average and major economies. Domestic demand contributed over 80% to our growth, and our international trade in goods increased by nearly 23% year-on-year. China’s economy has made important contributions to the recovery of global economy and trade from COVID-19, and will make further progress in quality and efficiency. China’s middle-income group continues to expand, and the people have growing needs for quality products and services. Looking into the future, China is set to become the biggest consumer market in the world. American companies are welcome to come onboard to share the dividends of China’s high-quality development.
Second, we must shore up our confidence in China’s high-standard opening-up. This year marks the 20th anniversary of China's accession to the World Trade Organization. Over the last two decades, China has fully delivered on its accession commitments. Its overall tariff rate has been cut from 15.3% to 7.4%, lower than the 9.8% accession commitment. Nearly 120 sub-sectors of the service industry have been opened, exceeding our commitment of 100. The central government has reviewed and revised over 2,300 pieces of laws and regulations, and local governments over 190,000 pieces. A domestic economic management system aligned with international rules has been established. These measures have unleashed market and social vitality. Over the last two decades, China has opened itself increasingly wider, promoting our own development and empowering global development and prosperity. China has become the world's largest trader in goods, the second largest trader in services, and a major trading partner of more than 120 countries and regions. For 20 years, China’s average annual contribution to global growth has remained at about 30%.

As reiterated by the 6th Plenary Session, China will continue to comprehensively deepen reform and opening-up. We will further shorten the negative lists on foreign investment access, enable all-round opening-up of agriculture and manufacturing, open the telecommunications, healthcare and other service sectors wider, and implement a negative list for cross-border service trade nationwide. We will advance trade and investment liberalization and facilitation, and build a market-oriented, law-based and world-class business environment. We will take an active and open attitude in negotiations on digital economy, trade and the environment, industrial subsidies and state-owned enterprises. We have applied for joining the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) and the Digital Economy Partnership Agreement (DEPA). We are improving and enforcing laws and regulations on anti-monopoly, and stepping up regulation of some industries. This is for the healthy development of the market economy, and a common international practice. We will communicate with the market in the process of policy making and implementation, and do our best to create a stable, fair, transparent and predictable business environment. China's high-standard opening-up will provide a bigger market and more opportunities for the US and other countries.

Third, we must rebuild our confidence in China-US relations. Indeed, the China-US relationship is going through serious difficulties. This does not serve the fundamental interests of the two countries and peoples. Two weeks ago, President Xi Jinping and President Joe Biden held a virtual meeting. They have agreed that China and the US should respect each other, coexist in peace, increase communication, handle differences constructively, prevent conflict, and strengthen cooperation. The Presidents’ meeting has provided direction and guidance for our relations in the new era. China will work with the US to implement the spirit of the meeting and inject more positive energy into our relations.
Economic and trade cooperation has always been the anchor and propeller of our ties. China is ready to enhance such cooperation with the US to expand our shared interests. We need to strengthen existing cooperation in agriculture, manufacturing and financial services, and I believe our cooperation in energy and climate change means new opportunities to companies of both countries.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I know you are concerned about resumption of business travel to China. Let me announce here that we are implementing President Xi’s direction on upgrading fast-track arrangement to provide more conveniences for you. With the upgraded arrangement, the time needed for travel approval will be shorter, no more than 10 working days. Testing and quarantine will be more convenient. You can work during quarantine if conditions for a quarantine bubble are eligible. We have formulated a specific work plan and will share it with the USCBC.
On your other problems and concerns in market access and business environment, we will lend an attentive ear and do our best to help. I also hope to have your understanding and an objective and long-term view from you on these matters.

The USCBC just released the 2021 District Export Report. According to the report, America’s goods exports to China reached 123 billion dollars in 2020, up by nearly 18%, while its exports to other parts of the world last year dropped by 15%. China's economic growth has not only greatly boosted US exports, but also supported almost one million American jobs. This proves once again that our economic and trade ties are win-win in nature. They are not I-win-you-lose or you-win-I-lose. Trade issues should not be politicized. Decoupling and building walls would only undermine global industrial chain and supply chain, and damage our cooperation and common interests. We call for openness and inclusiveness. We call for early abolition of the additional tariffs. We call for the abolition of cold war mentality not only in words but also in deeds.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

This is my first winter in Washington DC. Being with a galaxy of business leaders here tonight, I feel very warm and encouraged. Your passion and confidence in our way forward remind me of a quote of English poet Percy Shelley, “If winter comes, can spring be far behind?” Together, let’s brave this winter and embrace the arrival of spring.

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