Ambassador CHENG Jingye's Remarks at the Book Launch of China's Forty Years of Reform and Development
(19th July 2018)
2018-07-19 18:39

I have the great pleasure to attend today's event. This year marks the 40th anniversary of China's reform and opening up, a perfect occasion on which to launch the book on China's Forty Years of Reform and Development. Here I want particularly to pay tribute to ANU China Economy Program team for your valuable efforts in this regard. My deep appreciation also goes to Crawford School of Public Policy and the College of Asia and Pacific for your terrific work in the field of China-Australia economic research.

China's reform and opening up stands as one of the most significant landmark events in the contemporary world. It has both profoundly changed China and greatly influenced the world.

Over the past 4 decades, tremendous achievements have been made in China's economic development with its GDP averaged an annual growth rate of around 9.5% in comparable prices. And the living standard of the Chinese people have been greatly elevated, with more than 700 million people been lifted out of poverty. What equally important is that, in the process of reform and opening up, we have blazed a development path that best suits our national realities, i.e the path of socialism with Chinese characteristics.

Over the past 4 decades, China, by actively embracing globalization, has increasingly integrated with the rest of the world. While China's development has benefited from the international community, it has made significant contribution to the prosperity and stability of the world. Contributing no less than 30 percent of global growth in the past 10 years, China has become a main driver for world economy.

Now China has entered the new era. In order to achieve the goal of turning China into a great modern socialist country in all respects by the middle of this century, continued reform and further opening-up remains indispensable.

Today's world is undergoing unprecedented changes and profound readjustments, with both opportunities and challenges. It is growing more and more into an interdependent and closely connected Global Village. However, populism, protectionism and unilateralism are also on the rise.

The recent adoption of unilateral trade measures by the US administration against China and some other WTO members has prompted global worries and opposition. This unilateral move, in violation of the WTO rules, not only hurts others but also brings no good to the US itself. Moreover, the trade war started by the US will undermine the multilateral trade system, worsen global trade environment and hamper world economic recovery. The latest IMF World Economic Outlook report estimates that a full-blown trade war could shave half a per cent off global growth forecasts by 2020.

As for the pretexts used by the US for its protectionist measures against China, they have no leg to stand on.

For example, the US claims that it has been shortchanged by China's unfair trading practices. As a matter of fact, China was a latecomer to global trade. We didn't make the rules. RMB is not the main settlement currency for transactions, and we were obliged to accept the WTO accession terms. If anybody is to be accused of unfair trading practices, China should be the last one. And the main reason for the trade imbalance between China and US lies in the low saving rate in the US as well as restrictions on the export of hi-tech products.

Another example is that, the US accuses China of so called "intellectual property theft". Well, the fact is that China is rockfirm in protecting IPR with a full-pledged legal system and has been strengthening IPR enforcement. In 2017, China paid $28.6 billion for intellectual property use, and the amount paid to the US increased by 14%. Recently, we have revised the Trademark Law and Law Against Unfair Competition to further reinforce IPR protection. In China's foreign investment regulations, there is no mandatory requirement on technology transfer. Technological cooperation between Chinese and foreign enterprises is contract behavior based on voluntary principle.

With regard to Made in China 2025 and other industrial policies, it should be pointed out that, under market economy conditions, these policies implemented by the Chinese government are guiding documents in nature, and are open to all foreign-funded companies.

There will be no winner from a trade war, only a lose-lose outcome. China doesn't want a trade war. However, when its legitimate rights and interests are unjustifiably affected, China has no other choices but to take necessary counter-measures. This is a situation we don't want to see. We urge the US side to come back to reason and stop its protectionist practices.

China's commitment to reform and opening-up will remain unswervingly strong in the face of protectionism and unilateralism. China will firmly push forward domestic reform, and China's door of opening-up will not be closed but will only open even wider. We will continue to deepen market-oriented reforms and accelerate improvement of socialist market economy system. We will continue to transform government functions by streamlining administration and delegating powers, and to create a world-class, fair and competitive business environment. Since President XI Jinping made his address at the Boao Forum for Asia, China has already relaxed restrictions on foreign equity caps on service and manufacturing industries. In the meantime, we have considerably cut tariffs on automobiles and many other daily products, and reduced the number of restrictive measures in the 2018 Negative List for Foreign Investment Access by 24%.

During the past 40 years of reform and opening-up, we have overcome various kinds of difficulties and risks. Facing the future, China is fully confident and capable to tackle with any new challenges. China stands ready to work with other countries around the globe to uphold free trade, open economy and the multilateral trading regime. We will stick to peaceful development, firmly support multilateralism, and actively promote the building of a community with a shared future for mankind, so as to achieve win-win development.

Thank you!

Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in the Commonwealth of Australia
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