Speech by Ambassador Cheng Jingye at the Tenth Anniversary Dinner of the China Chamber of Commerce in Australia
15 November 2016
The Honourable Minister Steven Ciobo,
Dear Shadow Assistant Minister Mr.Matt,
His Excellency Consul-General Gu Xiaojie,
Mr Hu Shanjun, Chairman of CCCA
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Sydney's evening always looks brilliant and beautiful with its enchanting scenery. At such a wonderful moment, it gives me great pleasure to join you at the tenth anniversary celebrations for the founding of CCCA, the China Chamber of Commerce in Australia. On behalf of the Chinese Embassy, I would like to express my heartfelt congratulations to CCCA and all of its members!
Ten years ago CCCA came into being in a timely manner, as it reflected not only the growing economic and trade ties between China and Australia, but also the increasing numbers of Chinese enterprises here in this country.
In the past ten years, CCCA has come a long way and done a great deal of commendable work.
With its steady expansion in size and continued improvement of operational mechanism, CCCA has now become an important platform for exchanges among Chinese enterprises and an influential Chinese association in Australia.
At the same time, the Chamber has served as a linchpin connecting Chinese and Australian business communities, and promoted communications between the Chinese enterprises and the Australian governments at all levels. Moreover, CCCA made useful contribution to the early implementation of ChAFTA, the China-Australia Free Trade Agreement, by actively campaigning for and promoting the Agreement.
In a broader sense, CCCA has played a unique role in advancing China-Australia relationship.
Over the years, the Chamber and its branches have provided invaluable support to the Chinese Embassy and consulates-general in Australia in their efforts to enhance cooperation between the two countries. I would like to take this opportunity to express my sincere thanks to you.
The ten years' history of CCCA has also witnessed fantastic growth in China-Australia trade. In 2006, total trade between the two countries was $50.4 billion Australian dollars; in 2015 this figure grew to $155.5 billion Australian dollars. FDI from China to Australia grew from $550 million Australian dollars in 2006 to $35 billion Australian dollars by 2015. Negotiations for ChAFTA were only in their infancy in 2006. The Agreement was finally concluded and its implementation began in 2015.
In the last ten years, more and more Chinese enterprises have come to invest in Australia. While they themselves have developed, they have also spurred growth in the local Australian economy, paying sizable amounts of taxes and creating many job opportunities. Apart from this, Chinese enterprises have provided significant sponsorships to charity, education, community development, sports and cultural activities in fulfillment of their corporate social responsibilities.
It's fair to say they have contributed a lot to deeper friendship and trust between the peoples of China and Australia.
This year, a couple of Chinese enterprises have encountered some difficulties over the course of their investing in Australia. I noted that the Australian government has, on different occasions in the last several months, reaffirmed that Australia remains open to and welcomes foreign investment, including Chinese investment. It is our hope that Australia will provide a fairer, more transparent and certain environment for Chinese investment. This is very important for boosting Chinese investors' confidence and enthusiasm. Last year, international FDI from China reached $145.67 billion US dollars, making it the second biggest foreign investing country in the world for the first time. Chinese non-financial foreign investment has continued to grow substantially this year, up by 53.7%. While I hope that Australia will create a better policy environment for Chinese investors, I am glad to see more Chinese enterprises coming to do business in Australia. This is in the best interest of both countries.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
China's economy has been stable overall this year, recording an increase of 6.7% in GDP growth over the last three quarters. The employment situation is better than anticipated, with more than 10 million new urban jobs created. Reforms have continued at an orderly pace in all areas, with economic structure steadily improving.
Last month saw a successful meeting of the Sixth Plenary Session of the 18th CPC Central Committee. This session focused on maintaining comprehensive and strict party discipline, which forms an integral part of China's "Four Comprehensives" strategy. This strategy also involves comprehensively deepening reform, comprehensively strengthening the rule of law and comprehensively building a society of moderate prosperity. Related decisions adopted at the session made it clear that the Chinese Communist Party will be firmly committed to purifying itself, improving itself and reforming itself, and will further strengthen the systematic, standardized and procedural framework for the political life and supervision within the Party. The session also formally put forward the concept of "Comrade Xi Jinping at the core of the Party Central Committee", in reflection of the general will of the entire Party and the people, which will have significant and far-reaching effects on China's future development. Overall, the outcome of this plenary session will provide an enormous boost to the Chinese people in its endeavor to achieve the great "Two Centenary Goals" under the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party. A more stable and successful China will be able to make greater contributions to global peace and prosperity.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
As we look to the future, China-Australia trade and economic cooperation has very bright prospects. Our two countries are natural partners with high economic complementarity. As more dividends from ChAFTA come to fruition and greater synergy is built between China's "Belt and Road" initiative and the Northern Australia development strategy, China-Australia investment and business cooperation will be surely taken to a new high.
It is my wish that CCCA will continue to grow and prosper in the next ten years offering even better services to its members. I also hope that through constant dialogues and interactions with all walks of life in Australia, CCCA will play a more active part in helping Australian society to have a deeper understanding and more objective view about China. And I'm sure CCCA will make full use of its own advantages to contribute more wisdom and insights to closer China-Australia trade and economic ties.