Hon. Mayor John Carter,
Her Worship Mayor Sheryl Mai,
Deputy Mayor Ms. Tania McInnes, Ms. Sharon Morgan,
Councilor Mr. Sally Macauley, Mr. John Vujcich,
Acting CEO Ms. Kathryn Ross, CEO Mr. Andy Nock,
Respected MPs, Mayors and Councilors of Northland Region,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
First of all, please allow me, on behalf of the Chinese Consulate General in Auckland, to extend our warmest welcome to all the distinguished guests present tonight. Thank you so much for joining us at this event in this breathtaking scenic Bay of Islands for which I created a name "Kingstown" because I believe this part of NZ is equally as beautiful and handsome as Queenstown in the South Island. As I have told my Kiwi friends many times, even though my Consulate office is not physically situated in Northland, our hearts are always with our friends in this region including Far North and Whangarei. We care so much about how to bring more benefits and opportunities to this part of NZ, through win-win co-operations and communication between China and Northland. This year I have paid many visits to Northland for both business and tourism. But today I bring an even stronger team with me from my Consulate, including Consuls of commerce, education, culture, tourism and local government affairs, as well as more than 20 Chinese business leaders from finance, aviation, IT, tourism, infrastructure, manufacture, logistics and various other industries. This reflects not only the importance we have attached to this region, but also the growing friendship, communication and cooperation between China and Northland.
This afternoon, we had a very productive and successful seminar between business leaders from both sides, with many opportunities in such areas as tourism, trade and investment identified, and many fruits achieved.
Tonight, I would like to take this opportunity to talk about the opportunities brought by the fast growing China NZ relations, China's development and its new round of opening-up, including the Belt and Road Initiative.
China and NZ bilateral relationship has maintained a good momentum of development. Particularly after President Xi Jinping's state visit to NZ in 2014, our bilateral relationship has been upgraded into comprehensive strategic partnership. The leaders of both countries have kept close communication and contacts. Last year, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang's visit to NZ also gave a strong push to this relationship. The cooperation and communication have been growing very fast in all areas. Now China has become NZ's largest source of international students, second largest source of tourism, which reached 400,000 last year. China is also NZ's largest trading partner. Over the past 10 years since our two countries signed FTA, our bilateral trade has been tripled from 8.6 billion to 26 billion NZ dollars. Just as Rt Hon. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern put it during her attendance at the China Business Summit in Auckland a few days ago, the FTA between NZ and China has been an unprecedented success for both countries, and enormously beneficial for New Zealand. China and New Zealand's economies are highly complementary with each other. China's new development concept featuring innovation, coordination, green, openness and shared development is very much in line with those of New Zealand. We are faced with great opportunities in developing our co-operations.
Ladies and gentlemen,
China's development and new round of opening-up also bring huge opportunities to NZ and our cooperation. China has been doing very well at all respects. The 19th National Congress of CPC and the two sessions of China's NPC and CPPCC held in Beijing respectively last October and this March elected a strong leadership to lead the country, as well as outlined the grand blue print for China's future development by the middle of this century. 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 will continue to be a builder of the world peace, contributor to the world growth and defender to the world order. Our economic growth keeps at rate of 6.9% this year and will continue. This year marks the 40th anniversary of China's reform and opening-up. This 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. Over the past 10 years since the world financial crisis, China's economy has contributed to 30% to the world economic growth which was the combined total of the US, Japan and Europe. Last month at Boao Asia Forum Annual Conference, President Xi Jinping declared in his keynote speech that "China's door of opening-up will not be closed and will only open even wider!" He also announced a series of major measures of opening up including significantly broadening market access, creating a more attractive investment environment, strengthening protection of intellectual property rights (IPR) and taking the initiative to expand imports. In the coming five years, China is expected to import US$10 trillion, attract US$600 billion worth of foreign investment and make a total of US$750 billion outbound investment.
In order to demonstrate our sincerity and determination of further opening the market to the world, China will hold the first International Import Expo this November in Shanghai, to build up a new platform to promote free trade and economic globalization. So far New Zealand enterprises have contracted more than 1300 square meters exhibition space in the Expo, which is second only to US and Australia in the whole Americas and Oceania. I sincerely welcome friends from Far North and Whangarei of Northland to visit Shanghai and actively participate in this grand economic and trade cooperation event.
Ladies and gentlemen,
The Belt and Road Initiative, proposed by President Xi Jinping five years ago, is also an important measure of China's reform and opening up .This initiative is about to build up an important platform to practice building a community of shared future for mankind. One Belt One Road is a road of connectivity of policy, trade, financing, infrastructure and people to people exchanges based on the principle of extensive consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits. It is about to build a platform for international cooperation and to tap the complimentary advantages of countries along the BRI. It has been warmly received by the international community. Currently, China's investment in countries along the Belt and Road has reached US$60 billion and 75 economic and trade cooperation zones have been set up in over 20 countries. It has received the support of over 100 countries and more than 80 countries and international organizations have signed cooperation agreements with China. The Belt and Road Initiative may be China's idea, but its opportunities and outcomes are going to benefit the world.
New Zealand was the very first western country to sign BRI cooperation agreement with China. Through our joint efforts, BRI cooperation has achieved many early harvest in NZ, particularly in areas of aviation, tourist related infrastructure, financial integration, etc. More and more Chinese companies have partnered with New Zealand counterparts. Many jobs are created for local people in NZ.
Looking into the future, we are confident about the great prospect of our cooperation. Northland is famous for its stunning natural sceneries such as Bay of Islands, and historic towns of Waitangi and Russell. Far North and Whangarei have established friendly cooperation relationship with Liaoning, Hubei and Hainan of China.
It is my sincere hope that our friends of Northland will seize the opportunities to benefit even more from China's development dividend and strengthen pragmatic cooperation with the local provinces and municipalities in China, in such areas as tourism, primary industry, aviation interconnection, education, culture and other innovation oriented sectors, and bring more benefits to peoples of both sides. It is also my sincere hope that you will continue to provide welcoming environment and favorable policies for Chinese businessmen to have cooperation. I am confident that through our joint efforts, the bilateral ties will get stronger and we will surely push China-New Zealand comprehensive strategic partnership into a new high.
Ladies and gentlemen
2019 will be China NZ tourist year, I am confident that more and more Chinese tourists will come to Northland and will come to this stunning beautiful "Kingstown".
Wish you have wonderful time tonight! Thank you!