Address by Vice Premier Wang Qishan at the Opening Ceremony of the Fifth
China-ASEAN Business and Investment Summit, Nanning, Guangxi, October 22, 2008
DistinguishedGuests, Ladies and Gentlemen, Dear Friends,
On behalf of theChinese Government, I wish to extend a warm welcome to the leaders ofASEANcountries and all the guests at the meeting.
Governments ofChina and ASEAN countries all give high priority to developing friendlyrelationsand mutually-beneficial cooperation between the two sides. Since the FirstChina-ASEANExpo (CAEXPO) and China-ASEAN Business and Investment Summit (CABIS)in 2004, our twosides have made great efforts to advance the building of theChina-ASEAN Free Trade Area. Wehave signed and put into effect the agreementson trade in goods and services, lowered tariff dutiesand expanded marketaccess, deepened sub-regional economic cooperation in the Greater MekongRiverBasin and East ASEAN Growth Area, and promoted trade and investmentfacilitation. Thetrade volume between China and ASEAN increased from US$ 105.9billion in 2004 to US$ 202.5billion in 2007, attaining the trade target of US$200 billion set by our leaders three years ahead ofschedule. During the firstnine months of this year, our two-way trade volume reached US$ 180.4billion, upby 23% over the same period of last year and making China and ASEAN eachother'sfourth largest trading partner. Our mutual investment is expanding.While ASEAN makesconsiderable amount of investment in China, the investment ofChinese businesses in ASEAN isgrowing rapidly. With all the 10 ASEAN countriesbecoming tourist destinations of Chinese citizens,mutual visits between ourpeoples have become even more frequent. As a result, China-ASEANcooperation invarious fields has shown good momentum of growth featuring equality, mutualtrust,mutual benefit and win-win progress.
China and ASEANcountries are all at a stage of fast economic growth. We are connected bythesame mountains and rivers. We share similar cultures and have much to offereach othereconomically. This has given us a solid foundation and huge potentialfor closer cooperation. Amidstthe rising uncertainties and destabilizingfactors in the world economy, continued expansion of thefinancial crisis in theUnited States and increased volatility in the international financial market,theglobal economic growth has markedly slowed down, causing a severe impact onthe Asian region. Inface of such unprecedented challenges, it is of specialimportance to accelerate China-ASEANcooperation. With this in mind, I wish tomake the following proposals on strengtheningChina-ASEAN business cooperation:
1. Deepencooperation in trade and investment. The two sides need to further deepencooperationin trade in goods and services, continue to strengthen communication andconsultationon the Investment Agreement of China-ASEAN Free Trade Area, work toconclude negotiations andsign the agreement at an early date and ensure thatChina-ASEAN Free Trade Area will beestablished as scheduled. The ChineseGovernment will encourage and support companies toincrease their investment inASEAN countries and facilitate the building of economic and tradecooperationzones in ASEAN countries.
2. Step upsub-regional cooperation. As an active supporter of ASEAN economic integration,Chinais working with countries concerned to jointly promote the transition of theGreater MekongSubregion from a transport corridor to an economic corridor andexplore ways to carry out economiccooperation in the Pan-Beibu Bay. The ChineseGovernment will support the accelerated opening-upand development of Beibu BayEconomic Zone and turn it into a new area of growth forChina-ASEAN cooperation.
3. Improvecooperation mechanisms. We should give better play to the role of the existingcommunicationand cooperation mechanisms, continue to do a good job in hosting the CAEXPO andtheCABIS and promote exchanges and dialogue at various levels and in variousfields. We shouldencourage intermediary agencies to provide services forcooperation between companies from thetwo sides, in particular thosefacilitating more effective cooperation between small andmedium-sizedcompanies.
4. Jointly respondto challenges. To follow the trend of economic globalization and strengthenregionaleconomic cooperation will help us better seize development opportunities andmeet majorchallenges. China will step up coordination and cooperation withASEAN countries in finance,energy, environmental protection, food security andother fields with a responsible attitude to jointlypromote the steady and soundeconomic and financial growth of the region.
Ladies andgentlemen, friends, this year is a challenging year for China. In spite of thecomplexchanges in the international situation and the unexpected difficultiesat home, we have maintainedfast economic growth and financial security andstability, won a major victory in our battle againstthe devastating Wenchuanearthquake, successfully hosted the Beijing Olympic and ParalympicGames andcompleted the Shenzhou 7 manned space flight mission with flying colors. Theseachievementsspeak volume for the solid national strength China has accumulated in the pastthirtyyears of reform and opening-up. On the whole, the fundamentals of theChinese economy remainunchanged and macro control and regulation is producingexpected results. In the first three quartersof this year, China's GDP grew by9.9% year on year and the commodity price rise has slowed downin recent months.The most important task for us now is to manage our own things well. TheChineseGovernment has taken and will continue to take measures to meet externalchallenges, and work toensure economic stability, financial stability and thestability of the capital market. We have theconfidence, conditions andcapabilities to overcome any difficulty or challenge.
China'sdevelopment will bring more opportunities to countries in the world, especiallyourneighbors. We will remain committed to the socialist path with distinctiveChinese features, fullyapply the Scientific Outlook on Development, speed upthe transformation of the mode of economicgrowth, readjust macro economicpolicies in a flexible and prudent manner, and work to boostdomestic demand,consumption demand in particular. We will not only focus on the speed ofdevelopmentbut also pay attention to the pattern, quality and efficiency of suchdevelopment so asto bring about sustained, stable and fast economic growth.China will continue to push forwardreform and opening-up, follow a win-winstrategy of opening-up, promote trade and investmentliberalization andfacilitation, and oppose protectionism in all manifestations. We will continuetopursue peaceful development, adhere to the principle of building amicablerelationship andpartnership with our neighbors, enhance good-neighborly,friendly and practical cooperation withour neighboring countries, andcontribute to the common development of the region through ourown development.
As the host of theCAEXPO and the CABIS, Guangxi is uniquely positioned to play animportant rolein promoting China-ASEAN cooperation. I hope that our Chinese and ASEANfriendsfrom all sectors can make full use of this platform to strengthen exchanges,increase mutualunderstanding and enhance fruitful cooperation, and make newcontribution to China-ASEANbusiness cooperation and China-ASEAN strategicpartnership.
I wish theChina-ASEAN Expo and the China-ASEAN Business and Investment Summit acompletesuccess.