June 7, 2023
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Let me start by thanking the U.S.-China Business Council (USCBC) for hosting this event. It is a great pleasure to join friends old and new to celebrate the 50th birthday of the Council.
Founded even before China and the United States established diplomatic relations, the USCBC has been a pioneer in bilateral economic cooperation and trade, an advocate of China-U.S. relations, and a contributor to as well as a beneficiary of win-win cooperation. Over the past five decades, the Council has been actively boosting China-U.S. exchanges and cooperation, and promoting trade and investment. It has driven and witnessed the historical process as our trade surged from US $12.88 million to nearly US $760 billion, and two-way investment from nearly zero to over US $240 billion.
We will never forget your kind assistance when the Chinese people were hit by major disasters. And we will always cherish your vision, courage and commitment at times of serious difficulties. Let me take this opportunity to salute the Council, its member companies and all of you here for everything you have done for this relationship!
It is wonderful to be back in the United States after 13 years, my third posting here. A lot has changed, and we are finding ourselves in a world of turbulence, with serious challenges in China-U.S. relations. We are again at a crossroads. Which way should we take: to stabilize the relationship and find the right way to get along in the new era, or to let it spiral downward further into conflict and confrontation? This is a major choice we need to make.
I know all of you are interested in China’s development. In this chaotic world, you will find China a source of rare stability and much-needed certainty.
China’s policy is open and transparent, and its pathway clear. The 20th CPC National Congress laid out the blueprint for China’s future development, while the two sessions further fleshed out the roadmap. Our central task is to advance the rejuvenation of the Chinese nation through a Chinese path to modernization. China’s leadership is strong, and its people united. Under the new central leadership with President Xi Jinping at its core, the Chinese people will persevere in carrying out the set goal.
Development remains our top priority. We will focus on becoming a better self, so as to meet our people’s aspiration for a better life. It is not in our DNA to invade others or seek hegemony. Nor do we have the intention to dominate the world, or challenge anyone else.
China’s economic recovery is robust, with bright prospects. In the first quarter, China’s GDP grew 4.5 percent year on year, with trade in goods up by 4.8 percent. During the Labor Day Holiday, over 270 million people, equivalent to about 80 percent of the U.S. population, travelled domestically. IMF has raised China’s growth forecast to 5.2 percent, projecting it will contribute one-third of the global growth this year.
In addition, China has a working age population of nearly 900 million. Over 240 million have received higher education. Every year, over 15 million join the workforce. With all this, China continues to enjoy the demographic dividend, while the talent dividend is coming to the fore. Its huge market, well-functioning industrial system, high-quality workforce and predictable business environment makes China irreplaceable.
A McKinsey senior executive observed that “The next China globally is China because of the significant growth.” Airbus recently announced its plan to build a second production line in Tianjin. Tesla is to build a Megafactory in Shanghai. In all this, the business community is casting votes of confidence in China.
China’s commitment to opening-up is firm, which will bring unprecedented opportunities. China is at the same time the world’s largest trader in goods, the top destination for FDI, and a global manufacturing center. As the primary export market of over 50 countries and regions, and a major trading partner of over 140, it is deeply integrated into the international industrial and supply chains. We in China simply have no reason whatsoever to close our doors.
On the contrary, we will open up the modern services sector wider and expand market access. We will do more to welcome foreign investment, ensure national treatment for foreign-invested companies and their equal participation in government procurement, tendering, bidding and standard-setting in accordance with the law. We will enhance the protection of IPRs and legitimate rights and interests of foreign investors, and continue to foster a market-oriented, law-based business environment in keeping with international standards.
We will also make greater efforts to align with high-standard international economic and trade rules, seek to join the CPTPP and DEPA, deepen domestic reform in related areas, and steadily expand institutional opening-up by adopting relevant rules, regulations, management, and standards.
As China strives to achieve modernization for its 1.4 billion people, a miracle in human history, and as its middle-income population exceeds 800 million in the coming 15 years, it will unlock opportunities like never before.
China keeps to a path of peaceful development, and has played a key role in the world. China continues to pursue an independent foreign policy for peace. We are dedicated to building a community with a shared future for mankind, and have stepped up our diplomatic efforts. President Xi Jinping visited Russia, and spoke with President Zelenskyy on the phone. China has issued its position paper on the political settlement of the Ukraine crisis. The Chinese Government’s Special Representative on Eurasian Affairs visited Ukraine and other four countries.
China is glad to have played a part in the restoration of the Saudi-Iran relationship. The first China-Central Asia Summit was a success. We have welcomed multiple world leaders. The Global Development Initiative, Global Security Initiative and Global Civilization Initiative are well received. China takes pride in contributing to world peace and development.
Some of you have recently joined us in celebrating the 100th birthday of Dr. Henry Kissinger. The centenarian has reminded us of how important peaceful coexistence between China and the United States is to humanity’s future. The history of the China-U.S. relationship has told us that both countries stand to gain from cooperation and lose from confrontation. The latter scenario would make the world suffer as well. President Xi Jinping has made it clear: getting this relationship right is not optional, but something we must do and must do well. The world is big enough for our two countries to develop themselves and prosper together.
Since my arrival two weeks ago, I have been reaching out to American friends from all walks of life. Their biggest concern, I learned, is about China and the United States slipping into conflict and confrontation. Their greatest hope is for this relationship to stabilize. If the world is to become better, the China-U.S. relationship must stop getting worse.
China has always placed importance on its relationship with the United States. It is ready to work with the U.S. side to enhance dialogue, manage differences, advance cooperation, and bring this relationship back to the right track at an early date.
To make that happen, I believe the following are important:
First, we need to follow the right direction. President Xi Jinping has proposed the three principles of mutual respect, peaceful co-existence and win-win cooperation. They represent the fundamental and right way for the two countries to get along in the new era. Among them, mutual respect comes first; peaceful co-existence i