Ladies and gentlemen,
Against this background, the China-UK "Golden Era" was consolidated last year. Fruitful results were achieved in our political, trade, economic and cultural cooperation, and people-to-people exchanges. We take pride in our achievements of the past year, and we are full of expectations for the new year.
The new year is the opening year for the implementation of the blueprint outlined at the 19th Party Congress. It marks the 40th anniversary of China's reform and opening up. And it is the year for us to shift to a higher gear in building the China-UK "Golden Era". In the new era, China will open its arms to the world and invite other countries to share its new development opportunities. In the new era, China stands ready to work with the UK to make new contribution to world peace and prosperity. In the new era, trade and economic cooperation between China and the UK will embrace a promising future and deliver more benefits to the people of our two countries.
At the beginning of the new year, Prime Minister May paid a successful visit to China. It was a visit that started a promising year for China-UK relations and opened a new chapter for the China-UK "Golden Era". During this visit, the leaders of our two countries agreed to build a more strategic, practical, global and inclusive bilateral relationship in the "Golden Era". The two sides signed business contracts worth about 10 billion pounds.
In the new year, I have three expectations for the business communities of our two countries.
First, I expect to see confidence. I hope you will be more confident in China-UK economic cooperation and trade, and contribute to its accelerated development. Trade and economic cooperation has been a stabilizer for our bilateral relations. It requires the support of people from across the sectors, and the genuine efforts of the business communities of our two countries. China and the UK have respective strengths which match each other well in a win-win trade and economic cooperation. This has contributed to the economic growth of our two countries and delivered tangible benefits to our enterprises.
I hope the British business community will "stand high and look far". This means to have the big picture in mind and take a long-term perspective. I hope you will seize the opportunities and work to expand and deepen concrete cooperation with China in such areas as finance, energy, science, technology and creative industries. I am sure if you can do this, you will be able to elevate China-UK trade and economic cooperation onto a new level.
Second, I expect to see ambition. I hope you will be more ambitious in China-UK cooperation on the Belt and Road Initiative and create more highlights. The Belt and Road Initiative is a public good that China offers to the world. It is an important platform for international cooperation. It enjoys the support from more and more countries.
China will uphold the principles of "extensive consultation, joint contribution and shared benefit" in Belt and Road cooperation. From planning for cooperation to carrying out specific projects, every action should be agreed between participants and every step taken in full transparency. There is no dominant power; all sides taking part in the Initiative are equals. There is no "black box" operation; openness and transparency are the principles in Belt and Road cooperation. There is no "winner-takes-all"; the Belt and Road cooperation is win-win for all.
In recent years, China-UK cooperation on the Belt and Road Initiative has gathered strong momentum and achieved "early harvests" in policy, infrastructure and financial connectivity. With our comparative strengths and given the huge potential of Belt and Road cooperation, China and the UK have every reason to become "natural partners".
The CBBC, like many other organizations, is enthusiastic about enhancing China-UK Belt and Road cooperation. I understand that the CBBC is working on the third report on this Initiative. Going forward, I hope our two countries will build on past achievements and blaze new trails. The key is to translate our ideas into concrete action and turn our vision into flagship projects.
Third, I expect to see determination. I hope you will be more determined in promoting an open economy in both China and the UK. History tells us that protectionism never solves any problem, and trade war is a double-edged sword. Both China and the UK advocate and support free trade and open economy. We should continue to adopt a positive attitude towards openness and win-win cooperation, we should maintain the sound momentum of China-UK trade and economic cooperation, and we should work together for an open world economy.
China will open its door wider to the world. We will pursue opening-up on all fronts, encourage steady growth of foreign investment and foster a world-class environment for business. China will fully open up the general manufacturing industry, expand opening-up of telecommunications, Medicare, education, pension and new energy vehicles, and ease or remove foreign ownership limits in banking, securities, fund management, futures and financial asset management, and apply a uniform market access standards to Chinese and foreign banks.
China and the UK have more consensus and more shared interests in supporting economic globalization, opposing protectionism and reforming the global economic governance system. It is time for our two countries to shoulder our responsibilities as countries of global influence and make new contribution to building an open world economy.
This November, China will host the first-ever International Import Expo in Shanghai. This will be China's major effort to open up its market to the world. It also embodies the support of the Chinese government for economic globalization. The import expo is open to all British businesses who wish to introduce their products and services to the Chinese market, and build their brand names in China and the whole world.
Ladies and gentlemen,
65 years ago, the predecessor of CBBC, the British Council for the Promotion of International Trade, took a trade mission of representatives from 16 British companies to China. That trip opened the grand chapter of China-UK trade and economic cooperation. Since then, the CBBC has upheld the principles of friendly cooperation, stayed true to the pioneering spirit and focused on the larger picture of China-UK relations. With the help of the CBBC, companies from both countries have been able to carry out cooperation in China, in the UK and in a third market. The CBBC has done a great deal to boost our trade and economic cooperation and contributed to the overall China-UK relations.
President Xi Jinping once said, countries need to seek win-win results through greater openness and cooperation. This is the spirit of the new era. This is the idea driving us forward in the China-UK "Golden Era". I hope that business leaders of both countries will take a long-term view and engage in genuine cooperation. Together, you will create a promising new era for China-UK business cooperation.
In conclusion, I wish this Conference a great success!
And I wish all CBBC members, everyone present here and your family a happy, healthy and prosperous Year of the Dog!