Mr. Leon Grice, Principal Advisor Americas and Asia Group of MFAT,
Members of Parliament Mr. Raymond Huo and Dr. Jian Yang,
His Excellency Mr. Fisa Pihigia, High Commissioner for Niue,
Her Excellency Ms. Roseline Blake, Consul General of the Cook Islands in Auckland,
Mr. Stephen Jacobi, Executive Director of China Council,
Sir Bob Harvey,
Mr. Nick Hill, Chief Executive of ATEED,
Mr. Martin Thomson, Chairman of NZCTA,
Distinguished Guests, Dear Friends,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Today I am very pleased and honored to co-host this event with Chinese Ministry of Commerce and Chinese Embassy in New Zealand to introduce the first China International Import Expo which will be held on November 5-10, 2018 in Shanghai. At the outset, please allow me, on behalf of the Consulate General of China in Auckland, to extend our warm welcome to the Chinese delegation from Beijing and all the friends present here today. Thank you so much for joining us at this special occasion.
China and NZ are important economic and trade partners. Currently, China is NZ's largest trading partner which accounts for 20% of NZ foreign trade. Over the past ten years since China and NZ signed FTA, our bilateral trade has been tripled from $8.6billion to $26.1b last year. We are confident that the goal of $30 billion trade by 2020 will be reached. This goal was set by the leaders of our two countries during President Xi's visit to NZ four years ago. In order to realize this goal earlier, we need to work hard and facilitate the enterprises with more opportunities for co-operation.
Today, I would like to talk about how to make use of the platform of the first China International Import Expo to seize the opportunities. I would like to start with two questions. The first is why does China hold this Import Expo? The second is why should NZ get involved in this Expo?
I think there are three major reasons for holding this Import Expo:
First is to show the sincerity and determination of China's opening up by opening its own market to the whole world. This Expo was proposed by President Xi Jinping at the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation in May 2017. This year marks the 40th anniversary of China's reform and opening up. After 40 years of rapid growth, China has become the No.2 economy, the second largest importer and consumer and is likely to be the No.1 market in the world soon. Along with the fast growing development, particularly the big increase of middle class which has reached 400 million, the market potential is huge. Over the past five years, China has imported USD 9 trillion, accounting for one-tenth of the total global imports. In the next five years, China will import over USD10 trillion worth of goods and services. Reform and opening up policy has brought great social and economic transformation to China and is the only way for China's future development. The 19th National Congress of CPC outlined a grand blueprint for China's future development by the middle of this century to build China into a modern, prosperous, harmonious, democratic and beautiful country. China's door of opening-up will not be closed and will only open even wider, which was declared by President Xi Jinping at the recent Boao Forum for Asia Annual Conference 2018. Holding the Import Expo is a concrete action of the Chinese government to honor its commitment.
The second is to build up a platform for international cooperation and high-level dialogue and communication on world trade. China is the beneficiary of economic globalization. Over the past years, the development of China's foreign trade has not only driven China's economic growth, but also has greatly promoted the recovery of the world economy. Since the international financial crisis in 2008, China has contributed over 30 percent to world economic growth every year on average. Facing the new situation, with the challenges of rising unilateralism and protectionism, China wants to build up a new platform to promote free trade and to push the economic globalization forward in a way which benefits the whole world. The Hongqiao International Trade Forum which will be held at the same time with the Import Expo, will invite the leaders of relevant countries, senior government officials, business leaders, heads of WTO and other international organizations, fortune 500 companies and other companies. Through dialogues and communications, participants will have chances to coordinate trade policy between countries, share the development experience, promote trade liberalization and facilitation, and create a friendly policy environment for international trade.
Thirdly, holding this import expo is to meet the need of the Chinese economy to achieve high-quality development. The Import Expo will promote the transformation and upgrade of China's domestic industries and accelerate its development by expanding import of high-quality consumer goods and services from the world, and it will also help meet the diversified needs of Chinese consumers.
Up to now, many governments and enterprises of foreign countries have confirmed their participation in the Expo. Among 230 trading partners with China, more than 180 countries and regions have designated close to 200 domestic organizations to assist with the Expo. NZ has confirmed participation in both country pavilion and trade exhibition, and designated New Zealand Trade and Enterprise (NZTE) as the official agent for trade exhibition.
Ladies and gentlemen, why should our NZ friends get involved into the Import Expo? Import Expo is an important bonanza China brings to the world. It is a rare opportunity for the companies from all over the world to promote their images, increase their visibility and meet new clients. The Import Expo will gather the world's best companies and high-quality products, and you will be updated with latest and most cutting-edge industrial information and policy, meet with target business partners through the most direct channels and in a most efficient way, and get into Chinese market and other third-country market in depth.
Policy support to this Import Expo is very attractive and strong. The organizer of the exhibition will establish green channels to provide facilitation measures such as customs clearance, inspection and quarantine for exhibitors, setting up special organizations at the exhibition to strengthen IPR protection and protect the rights and interests of the merchants.
Ladies and gentleman, just as an English idiom states, "He who runs fastest gets the ring." China's development is an opportunity to the world. China and NZ economics are highly complementary with each other. NZ products enjoy a good reputation of clean, green and 100% pure, and are well received and loved by Chinese consumers. I sincerely welcome NZ friends from the business and industry community to visit Shanghai this November to experience the excitement of the Chinese market and the Import Expo. I'm confident that China International Import Expo will bring you a wonderful feast.
Thank you so much!