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Remarks by H.E. Ambassador Cheng Jingye at the China International Import Expo - Business Forum
(28 March 2018, Sydney)

  It’s a great pleasure for me to attend this business forum for the China International Import Expo. I want to thank the CCCA and ACBC NSW branch for your initiative. The presence of so many business representatives here today clearly shows your strong interest in the Expo. I’d like to take this opportunity to provide you some background information of the Expo, which I hope will be helpful for your participation in the Expo.

  Last May, President Xi Jinping announced at the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation (BRF) that China will annually host an International Import Expo starting from 2018. Recent years have witnessed twists and turns of globalization, with multilateral trading system being challenged and protectionism on the rise. Against such a background, China’s decision to host the Expo is to demonstrate its strong commitment to globalization and free trade, as well as our steadfast determination to further opening-up. The message we hope to convey is clear, that is China welcomes other countries to board the fast train of China’s economy and take a free ride. In the coming five years, China is estimated to import over 8 trillion US dollars of goods and services. The Expo will undoubtedly provide a new opportunity for other countries to expand their exports to China.

  As one of the four key international events to be hosted in China this year, the first Import Expo will be held in Shanghai from Nov 5th to 10th. The Expo consists of two parts. One is “Country Pavilion”, the other is “Business Exhibition”. Preparations are orderly in progress. So far, the registration has been out of expectation. Over 60 countries have registered in the “Country Pavilion”, and enterprises and companies from more than 120 countries and regions have registered in the “Business Exhibition”. Over 150 thousand Chinese and international buyers are expected to be present. Sideline with the Expo will be a Hongqiao International Trade Forum, where state leaders, heads of international organizations, businessmen and experts will discuss on this platform about new trends of global trade and new visions on globalization and open economy.

  I’m pleased to note that Minister Ciobo confirmed recently in Hong Kong that he will lead the Australian delegation to the Expo. My colleagues told me that the Australian companies are actively registering as well. We welcome the Australian government and business people to attend the Expo. We also welcome more Australian quality goods and services entering the Chinese market.

  Ladies and gentlemen,

  The year 2018 kicks off China’s efforts to put into action the guiding principles of the 19th CPC Congress. Not long ago, we successfully convened the “Two Sessions”. This year’s “Two Sessions” elected new state leaders, completed the amendment of the Constitution, approved the State Council institutional reform plans and set out the major goals of this year’s economic and social development. All these outcomes are of great importance to implementing the 19th CPC Congress decisions, ensuring China’s long-term stability and growth, and making sure that China is always on the right track of development.

  Our major projected targets for this year’s economic and social development include the following: GDP growth will be around 6.5% while CPI will increase about 3%. 11 million new urban jobs will be created, with the surveyed urban unemployment rate within 5.5%. Basic parity will be maintained in personal income growth and economic growth. And we also aim to deliver at least 3% drop in energy consumption per unit of GDP.

  In 2018, we will step up supply-side structural reform with substantive progress. Among other things, we will cut steel production capacity by around 30 million metric tons and coal production capacity by around 150 million metric tons. We will move faster to make China a country of innovators, deepen reforms in fundamental and key areas, such as reforms of SOEs and in the financial sector. At the same time, we will fight three critical battles. The first one is to make progress in forestalling and defusing major risks, especially the financial risks. The second one is to step up targeted poverty alleviation, with over 10 million poor rural population to be reduced. And the last one is to achieve further progress in addressing pollution.

  Equally importantly, we will create a new landscape in comprehensive opening up. To begin with, we are going to advance international cooperation under the Belt and Road Initiative, and to act on the outcomes of last year’s Belt and Road Forum. Secondly, we will promote a steady growth in foreign investment. We aim to foster a world-class business environment, by completely opening up access to general manufacturing sector and expanding access to sectors like telecommunications, medical services, education, elderly care, finance and new-energy vehicles. We will apply practices developed in pilot free trade zones across the country and explore opening free trade ports. Thirdly, we are to actively expand imports, lower import tariffs on automobiles and some everyday consumer goods. And fourthly, we will promote trade and investment liberalization and facilitation and work for the early conclusion of negotiations on the RCEP. China opposes trade protectionism and will resolutely safeguard our legitimate rights.

  Ladies and gentlemen,

  This year marks the 40th anniversary of China’s reform and opening up. The policy of reform and opening up has not only greatly transformed China and elevated the living standard of the Chinese people, but also profoundly influenced the world. The gate of China’s opening-up will never close, rather it will open even wider. China’s continued reforms and opening up will bring inexhaustible momentum and vitality to its own future development, with more contributions to the world at large.

  Economic and trade cooperation is an important part of China-Australia relations. Last year saw new progress in our two-way trade. Stronger business ties facilitate the development of our overall bilateral relationship, while maintaining good political relationship is in turn conducive to ensuring smooth business growth. It’s my sincere hope that business communities of both countries will be more proactive in promoting a sound and stable development of our bilateral relationship along the right track.

  Thank you.

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