Ten­ta­tive trade

Cau­tious out­look at Can­ton Fair re­flects global eco­nomic wor­ries

China Daily (USA) - - FRONT PAGE -

Your Ex­cel­lency Prime Min­is­ter Maris Kucin­skis, Col­leagues,

It is a great plea­sure for me to come to Riga, the heart of the Baltics, for the FifthSum­mitof China and Cen­tral and East­ern Euro­pean Coun­tries. Al­low me to ex­tend, on be­half of the Chi­nese govern­ment, our ap­pre­ci­a­tion to the Lat­vian govern­ment and Prime Min­is­ter Kucin­skis for their thought­ful prepa­ra­tion and ar­range­ments for the sum­mit. I also would like to warmly wel­come the EU, Aus­tria, Switzer­land, Greece, Be­larus and the Euro­pean Bank for Re­con­struc­tion and Devel­op­ment, who have joined us as ob­servers.

In the past Septem­ber, China suc­cess­fully hosted the G20 Hangzhou Sum­mit, where broad con­sen­sus was reached on mov­ing “To­ward an In­no­va­tive, Invigorated, In­ter­con­nected and In­clu­sive World Econ­omy”. The sum­mit un­der­scored the need to rein­vig­o­rate the twin growth en­gines of in­ter­na­tional trade and in­vest­ment and build an open world econ­omy. The sum­mit was widely ac­claimed by the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity as a vi­sion­ary and ground­break­ing mile­stone, of­fer­ing new think­ing on up­lift­ing the world econ­omy and chart­ing a new course for closer in­ter­na­tional co­op­er­a­tion.

The “16+1” frame­work has been a creative en­deavor made by China and CEE coun­tries to fur­ther our friend­ship and co­op­er­a­tion. Thanks to our joint ef­forts over the past five years, the “16+1” co­op­er­a­tion has grown from strength to strength and in­creas­ingly ma­tured. This has been ev­i­denced by fre­quent high-level vis­its be­tween China and CEE coun­tries, en­hanced po­lit­i­cal mu­tual trust and solid progress in our co­op­er­a­tion across the board.

We can safely say that our ef­forts to build a new model of part­ner­ship fea­tur­ing open­ness, in­clu­sive­ness and win-win out­comes have paid off. Since we met in Suzhou last year, China and CEE coun­tries have made com­pre­hen­sive progress in im­ple­ment­ing the “1+6” co­op­er­a­tion frame­work guided by theMedium-Term Agenda for Co­op­er­a­tion.

Much has been achieved in this re­gard: the Sta­nari ther­mal power plant has been put into op­er­a­tion; the ac­qui­si­tion of the Smed­erevo steel plant has gone smoothly; the Bu­dapest-Bel­grade Rail­way and other key projects have made no­table head­way; co­op­er­a­tion in nearly 20 ar­eas in­clud­ing econ­omy, trade, cul­ture, sub-na­tional ex­changes and youth has been in­sti­tu­tion­al­ized, and we are mak­ing in­roads into new fields such as forestry, ex­changes be­tween our courts, po­lit­i­cal par­ties and cap­i­tal cities. So far, the 50-plus mea­sures set out in the Suzhou Guide­lines have been largely car­ried out.

The world we live in faces mul­ti­ple chal­lenges, from slug­gish global re­cov­ery to con­stant flare-ups of re­gional hotspots and con­flicts, from ter­ror­ism, refugee is­sues to other acute non­con­ven­tional se­cu­rity threats. Un­cer­tain­ties and desta­bi­liz­ing fac­tors con­fronting all of us have been ris­ing. At the same time, our com­mon in­ter­ests have grown in tan­dem, so is the need for co­op­er­a­tion and com­mon ap­proaches. Work­ing to­gether to ex­pand, en­hance and up­grade the “16+1” co­op­er­a­tion will not only de­liver more ben­e­fits to peo­ple in China and CEE coun­tries, but will also con­trib­ute to world peace and devel­op­ment.

The “16+1” co­op­er­a­tion should con­tinue to fol­low and en­er­gize the pre­vail­ing trend of glob­al­iza­tion. Glob­al­iza­tion and re­gional eco­nomic in­te­gra­tion, which has pro­vided a vi­tal driv­ing force for fast global growth over the past sev­eral decades, serves the long-term and fun­da­men­tal in­ter­ests of all coun­tries. Yet re­cent set­backs in glob­al­iza­tion and resur­gent pro­tec­tion­ism of var­i­ous forms have cast a shadow over the fu­ture prospect of the world econ­omy. It is high time that we vig­or­ously pro­mote trade and in­vest­ment lib­er­al­iza­tion and fa­cil­i­ta­tion, keep our mar­kets open to each other, en­hance re­gional eco­nomic co­op­er­a­tion and jointly op­pose trade and in­vest­ment pro­tec­tion­ism. By do­ing so, we will not only add mo­men­tum to devel­op­ment in our re­spec­tive coun­tries, but also con­trib­ute our share to world eco­nomic re­cov­ery.

The “16+1” co­op­er­a­tion re­quires an in­ter­na­tional en­vi­ron­ment of peace, sta­bil­ity and sus­tain­able devel­op­ment. The “16+1” co­op­er­a­tion in turn is a pos­i­tive factor for world peace and devel­op­ment. The in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity needs to step up co­or­di­na­tion and com­mon re­sponse, and of­fer sup­port for proper set­tle­ment of hotspot is­sues in the in­ter­est of world peace and re­gional sta­bil­ity.

Europe is a ma­jor player on the world stage. The fact that we are at dif­fer­ent stages of devel­op­ment only spells out strong com­ple­men­tar­ity be­tween our economies. We both ad­vo­cate mul­ti­lat­er­al­ism and di­ver­sity of civ­i­liza­tions, and we are both par­tic­i­pants and con­trib­u­tors to the in­ter­na­tional sys­tem. The “16+1” co­op­er­a­tion is a part of and help­ful com­ple­ment to China-Europe co­op­er­a­tion. It will help ad­vance China-EU part­ner­ships in four as­pects and five plat­forms, and con­trib­ute to more bal­anced devel­op­ment across Europe and Euro­pean in­te­gra­tion. China is a staunch sup­porter of the in­te­gra­tion process in Europe. We want to see a pros­per­ous and sta­ble EU. We be­lieve that UK-EU re­la­tions will make a steady tran­si­tion.

Col­leagues, Thanks to our hard work for more than four years, the “16+1 ”co­op­er­a­tion has ac­quired a more ef­fec­tive in­sti­tu­tional frame­work, more solid foun­da­tion and great prospects for fur­ther ex­pan­sion. The theme of our sum­mit to­day, “con­nec­tiv­ity, in­no­va­tion, in­clu­sive­ness and com­mon devel­op­ment”, is both timely and rel­e­vant. China would like to pro­pose ef­forts in the fol­low­ing four ar­eas for our fu­ture co­op­er­a­tion:

First, ad­vance co­op­er­a­tion on in­fras­truc­ture and con­nec­tiv­ity. In­fras­truc­ture devel­op­ment is both a sig­nif­i­cant part of the Belt and Road Ini­tia­tive and a pri­or­ity in the “16+1” co­op­er­a­tion. China en­cour­ages rep­utable and ca­pa­ble Chi­nese com­pa­nies to take part in the devel­op­ment of ex­press­way net­works, port net­works, power grids and in­ter­net devel­op­ment of CEE coun­tries through project con­tract­ing, PPP, tech­no­log­i­cal con­sult­ing, man­age­ment and op­er­a­tion. We are ready to ad­vance the devel­op­ment of the Bu­dapest-Bel­grade Rail­way link and China-Europe Land-Sea Ex­press Line to forge trans­port ar­ter­ies run­ning through the CEE re­gion.

We sup­port the devel­op­ment of trans­port cor­ri­dors be­tween Asia and Europe. We will set up more lo­gis­tic cen­ters in CEE coun­tries and im­prove the in­ter­na­tional sup­ply chain and bor­der cross­ing rules on the trans­port cor­ri­dors. All these ef­forts will help en­hance CEE coun­tries’ role as a trans­port hub on the Eurasian Land Bridge.

Sec­ond, en­hance fi­nan­cial co­op­er­a­tion to so­lid­ify the foun­da­tion for the “16+1” co­op­er­a­tion. China’s high-qual­ity and af­ford­able equip­ment and pro­duc­tion ca­pac­ity and CEE coun­tries’ need for in­dus­trial up­grad­ing have formed an eco­nomic com­ple­men­tar­ity that has made our co­op­er­a­tion promis­ing. We may eas­ily come up with a long wishlist of good projects for the “16+1” co­op­er­a­tion, yet the bot­tle­neck lies in fund­ing. At the Busi­ness Fo­rum ear­lier in the af­ter­noon, I an­nounced the of­fi­cial es­tab­lish­ment of the China-CEEC Fi­nan­cial Hold­ing Co. China has signed MOUs with Poland and the Czech Re­pub­lic on mak­ing fi­nan­cial con­tri­bu­tions and other CEE coun­tries are most wel­come to take part. China is sup­port­ive of ex­panded co­op­er­a­tion on lo­cal cur­rency set­tle­ment and sup­ports the Silk Road Fund and other fi­nan­cial in­sti­tu­tions in pro­vid­ing fi­nanc­ing for the “16+1” co­op­er­a­tion projects through di­verse forms such as eq­uity and bonds. China is will­ing to work with CEE coun­tries to set up fi­nan­cial branches and sub­sidiaries in each other’s coun­tries and carry out third party co­op­er­a­tion un­der the frame­work of EBRD. Project fi­nanc­ing should be di­ver­si­fied and ac­cord with the prin­ci­ple of corporate ini­tia­tive and mar­ket-based op­er­a­tion. Gov­ern­ments should also fol­low com­mer­cial rules in fa­cil­i­tat­ing such fi­nanc­ing, rather than one side tak­ing all the ben­e­fits. With fi­nan­cial co­op­er­a­tion serv­ing as a cat­a­lyst, we will be able to get ma­jor projects off the ground in an ex­pe­di­tious way.

Third, ex­plore co­op­er­a­tion on green econ­omy. Green devel­op­ment is the trend of our times. “Green” has also been iden­ti­fied as one of the five key words in China’s new devel­op­ment ap­proach. Blessed with a su­perb nat­u­ral en­vi­ron­ment, the CEE coun­tries pro­duce high-qual­ity and af­ford­able agri­cul­tural prod­ucts which can well meet the rapidly ris­ing de­mands of Chi­nese con­sumers. China would like to im­port more such prod­ucts, and work with CEE coun­tries to ex­pand agri­cul­tural in­vest­ment and trade, ex­plore joint demon­stra­tion projects such as pro­cess­ing bases of agri­cul­tural prod­ucts, and boost co­op­er­a­tion on green agri­cul­ture be­tween prov­inces and cities. We are also will­ing to step up co­op­er­a­tion on en­vi­ron­men­tal pro­tec­tion, and ex­pand the joint devel­op­ment of clean en­ergy in­clud­ing wind and so­lar power. As ev­ery­one pitches in, the seedlings of our co­op­er­a­tion on green econ­omy will grow into lush trees and even forests.

Fourth, in­ten­sify peo­ple-topeo­ple ex­changes. Friend­ship and mu­tual un­der­stand­ing be­tween the peo­ple holds the key to state-to-state re­la­tions. We should en­hance peo­ple-to-peo­ple ex­changes by fully ex­ploit­ing ed­u­ca­tional, cul­tural, tourism, health, lo­cal and youth co­op­er­a­tion mech­a­nisms. We marked the Year of Peo­ple-to-Peo­ple and Cul­tural Ex­changes with col­or­ful events such as Lit­er­a­ture Fo­rum, Cul­tural and Creative In­dus­tries Fo­rum and vis­its of CEEC pain­ters to China, which has helped in­crease mu­tual un­der­stand­ing and friend­ship be­tween the two sides. China sup­ports the early es­tab­lish­ment of a “16+1” co­or­di­na­tion cen­ter on cul­tural co­op­er­a­tion, and will in­vite 1,000 young peo­ple from CEE coun­tries to the Bridge of Fu­ture youth work­shop in the next 10 years. As China and the EU have ex­tended visa ex­emp­tion treat­ment to each other’s diplo­matic pass­port hold­ers, we hope that CEE coun­tries can adopt more visa fa­cil­i­ta­tion mea­sures and spe­cial ar­range­ments for Chi­nese tourists, which will help at­tract more of them to your re­gion. China sup­ports des­ig­nat­ing 2017 as the Year of China-CEEC Me­dia Co­op­er­a­tion, as this will in­crease the vis­i­bil­ity of our co­op­er­a­tion and bring our peo­ple more closely to­gether. When peo­ple-to-peo­ple ex­changes boom, China-CEEC co­op­er­a­tion will thrive.

Col­leagues, A great fu­ture for our co­op­er­a­tion lies right in front of us. Let us seize the op­por­tu­ni­ties, beef up ac­tions, and work to­gether to pro­mote China-Europe friend­ship and co­op­er­a­tion for the greater ben­e­fit of our peoples.

Thank you.

XIE HUANCHI / XIN­HUA

Premier Li Ke­qiang at­tends the Fifth Sum­mit of China and Cen­tral and East­ern Euro­pean Coun­tries in Riga, Latvia, on Satur­day.

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