Hon. Peter Goodfellow, Honorary Chairman of OSRN and National Party President,
Dr. Yang Jian, Chairman of OSRN,
Hon. Paul Goldsmith, Former Minister for Science and Innovation,
Hon. Sam Lotu-Iiga, Former Minister of Pacific Peoples,
Hon. Tuariki Delamere, Former Minister of Immigration,
Distinguished guests, Ladies and Gentleman,
It is my pleasure to be here today to be part of this great event on "New Zealand-China Economic and Trade Cooperation" and to see so many old and new friends. Today's seminar reminds me of the first successful conference held by Oceania Silk Road Network (OSRN) last December in Auckland. At the outset, I would like to express my appreciation to OSRN for hosting tonight's event which provides an important platform making connections, communications and cooperation between China and New Zealand and also my warm congratulations to OSRN for its first anniversary. This year for both China and China New Zealand relationship we have so many anniversaries to celebrate.
2018 marks 40th anniversary of China's reform and opening up. President Xi Jinping delivered a very important speech at the BFA Annual Conference one week ago, which fully reviewed the historic achievements of China's reform and opening up over the past 40 years. Reform and opening up policy has not only been instrumental to China's social and economic transformation but also has made great contribution to the world peace and development. In the new round of reform and opening up, China is committed to working together with the rest of the world to build a community of shared future for mankind to construct a peaceful, secure, prosperous, open and beautiful world. China's door of opening up will not be closed and will only open even wider. This is the strategic decision made by China based on its need for development as well as a concrete action taken by China to move economic globalization forward in a way that benefits people across the world.
At the BFA Annual Conference a series of measures of opening up were announced, including significantly broadening market access to banking, securities, insurance industries, manufacture, health care and education etc., creating a more attractive investment environment, strengthening protection of intellectual property rights (IPR) and taking the initiative to expand imports. We have a genuine desire to increase imports along with the fast growing population of middle class which has reached 400 million. Now China has become the largest market of the world. I am very pleased to inform that this November we will hold the first China International Import Expo in Shanghai. I sincerely invite all friends from New Zealand and other Oceania countries to seize this important opportunity and actively participate in this grand economic and trade cooperation event.
2018 is also the fifth anniversary of the Belt and Road initiative. In China's history we have both the great wall and the silk road, and we learn from 2000 years' history that, in terms of development, road is much better than wall. In 2013, President Xi Jinping proposed the "One Belt and One Road" initiative, which was warmly cheered by the international community. In the past five years, China's investment in countries along Belt and Road has reached approximately US$60 billion and set up 75 economic and trade cooperation zones in over 20 countries, generating more than US$2 billion of tax revenue and 220,000 jobs for host countries. The "Belt and Road" has become an important global public product. It has received the support of over 100 countries and more than 80 countries and international organizations have signed cooperation agreements with China involving in this initiative. Through the implementation of policy coordination, facilities connectivity, unimpeded trade, financial integration, and people-to-people bonds, the "One Belt and One Road" infuses fresh vitality to the world's economic growth, boosts confidence in globalization, and paves the way for building a community with a shared future for mankind.
President Xi Jinping stressed that the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) may be China's idea, but its opportunities and outcomes are going to benefit the world. As long as the parties embrace the principles of extensive consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits, we can surely make the BRI the broadest platform for international cooperation. New Zealand is the first western country to sign the one belt one road initiative with China. We cherish this pioneering policy in developing co-operations with China .Many early harvests have been achieved in areas of air routes, financial services, trade and infrastructure. For example, air routes between the two countries have increased rapidly. At present, there are more than 150 direct flights between major cities in China and Auckland, which not only has greatly facilitated the people to people exchanges, but also brought a lot of trade and investment opportunities. Last year we successfully held the first international forum for BRI in Beijing attended by 29 foreign heads of states and governments and representatives from more than 140 countries and 80 international organizations including some of my friends present here tonight and achieved 270 deliverables. Next year we are going to hold the second international forum in Beijing. It is expected that more results will come out of the Forum.
2018 marks the tenth anniversary of the China-New Zealand Free Trade Agreement. Over the past 10 years, our bilateral trade has increased from 6.8 billion to 26.1 billion NZ Dollars. China has been New Zealand's largest trading partner for 5 consecutive years. As comprehensive strategic partners, China and New Zealand relationship has maintained a good momentum of development with deepened mutual political trust and enhanced cooperation in all areas.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
The world we live in today is faced with challenges of rising unilateralism and trade protectionism, and we should hold the principles of openness, inclusiveness and win-win cooperation in dealing with these challenges. It is these principles that foster the productive bilateral relationship between China and New Zealand. The economies of China and New Zealand are highly complementary with each other and there are rare opportunities and broad space within the framework of "One Belt and One Road" cooperation. With innovative new-thinking and pioneering open-mind, we will certainly be able to see more projects getting off the ground and paving the way for further cooperation.
Thank you very much for your attention, wish the seminar a great success! Thank you all!