Speech by Consul General Xu Erwen at the Dialogue on "One Belt One Road" Business Opportunities between China and New Zealand

Parliamentary Under-Secretary Mr. Michael Wood,

President of the National Party Mr. Peter Goodfellow,

Members of Parliament Jamie Strange, Raymond Huo, Jian Yang and Chris Penk,

Mayors and Councilors,

Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,


Good morning!

Thank you so much for joining us today at this event. At the outset, please allow me to extend, on behalf of the Chinese Consulate General in Auckland our warmest welcome to all the distinguished guests, friends and media present here today.

As you know that my consular district covers three very important regions of NZ, namely Northland, Waikato and Auckland, where my colleagues and I have paid regular visits and hosted a series of events and business forums. We were so much impressed and encouraged by the strong desire of the local governments, business people, educators and many others to forge, with the help of my Consulate General, partnership with Chinese counterparts. It is out of this consideration that we convene this dialogue today, which aims to serve as a platform for both sides to explore cooperative opportunities through face-to-face meetings at a time of world's dramatic change and at a time when China has entered into a new stage of further reform and opening-up.

At this special occasion, I wish to express my heartfelt appreciation to all the friends of my consulate district and NZ for their consistent support to promote the relationship and business co-operations between our two countries and two peoples. I hope that all the participants today will make full use of this platform to advance your businesses, make friends and connections with each other, and open new opportunities of cooperation at various areas between China and NZ.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Today, I would like to take this opportunity to share with you my views on the opportunities that China's new round of reform and opening up as well as the Belt and Road Initiative brings to the world and Sino-NZ co-operation:

This year marks the 40th anniversary of China's reform and opening-up. The past 4 decades have seen transformative changes in my country and made China the world's second largest economy. The Chinese people, with vision, hard work and perseverance, have forged ahead and taken a historic stride. We have stood up, become prosperous and grown with strength. For decades, some people in the west have made all kinds of assessments and predictions about China. To them, China is either "collapsing" or "threatening". As China continues to grow, the first theory has collapsed itself and become an international laughing stock. Meanwhile, proponents of the second theory have conjured up new versions of different kinds, but only to find dwindling support because facts speak louder than words.

For years, China has been the leading engine of global growth. At more than 30%, China's annual contribution is bigger than that of America, Japan and the Euro zone combined. We played our part in responding to the Asian financial crisis and international financial crisis. By doing so, China has contributed its vision and input to building a community with shared future for mankind featuring long-lasting peace, universal security, common prosperity, harmony, clean and beautiful world. China accounts for more than 70% of poverty reduction worldwide, a miracle in human history. As the world's largest trader of goods, the biggest tourist market and a major trading partner with over 130 countries, China's stability and development enjoyed by close to 1.4 billion people itself is a great contribution to the world peace. As the largest source of peacekeeping personnel among the permanent members of the UN Security Council and the second largest contributor to the UN peacekeeping budget, China is bearing a weighty responsibility for maintaining world peace. Not even mention that in the last five years, with the Belt and Road Initiative and other major proposals, China has come to the fore in championing global governance, free trade, open economy and rule-based international order, etc. From these solid facts, those who do not have bias or practice double standards will see in China not a threat, but lots of opportunities.

Ladies and gentlemen,   

The Belt and Road Initiative, which is a very important proposal of China's opening up, aims to enhance connectivity among countries and regions, promote interconnected development and create a new space for global growth through tapping the economic comparative advantages of countries along the BRI. This initiative is an open, inclusive and transparent platform for international cooperation based on extensive consultation, joint contribution and shared benefit. It has no hidden geopolitical agenda and no preconditions and it is not a one-way road. Instead, it is a win-win road of connectivity of policy, trade, financing, infrastructure and people-to-people exchanges. Over the past five years, the BRI has won wide international endorsement. We have signed BRI cooperation documents with more than 100 countries and international organizations. A large number of cooperation projects have been launched under this initiative. The total volume of trade in goods between China and countries along the Belt and Road had surpassed US$5 trillion, and China's outward direct investment to these countries has surpassed US$70 billion, creating hundreds of thousands of jobs and bringing tax revenue worth billions of US Dollars to local governments. Just as President Xi Jinping put during his speech at the APEC CEO Summit a few days ago, the BRI is a major and transparent initiative with which China shares opportunities and pursues common development with the rest of the world. He announced that in April next year, China will host the second BRI forum for international cooperation in Beijing.   

Ladies and gentlemen,  

As we look back over the past four decades of reform and opening up, we in China are more convinced than ever before that only through reform and opening up can China develop itself. Going forward, China will take an even more responsible approach, be even more open and inclusive, and strive to achieve even higher quality of growth. By doing so, China will make greater contribution to the common prosperity of the world. Our policy has always been and will remain consistent and steadfast. China will continue its peaceful development and will continue to be the upholder of the world peace, contributor of the world growth and defender of the world order.

Since the beginning of this year, China has announced a series of measures for further opening up, which include but not limit to provide a more attractive investment and business environment, significantly expand market access, lower tariffs and strengthen IPR protection. Protecting IPR is crucial to the nurturing of productive and innovative forces that will ensure China's sustainable high quality development. China views all companies, both Chinese and foreign, as equals, welcomes and encourages fair competition among them and will fully protect their legitimate rights and interests. We will do more to increase import. Along with the China's middle class closing to 400 million and the continued implementation of people-oriented policy, China's total import of goods in the next 15 years is estimated to be USD 24 trillion. Such bright prospect has been evidenced by an important event that took place in China this month.    

During the six day First China International Import Expo (CIIE) held in Shanghai early this month, attended by 172 countries, regions and international organizations, over more than 3,600 companies and 400,000 domestic and overseas buyers. Deals worth USD 57.8 billion were sealed. More than 100 NZ companies participated in the expo and signed contracts amounting hundreds of millions of Dollars. Right after the conclusion of the first CIIE, more than ten NZ exhibitors have presented applications for next year's expo booths covering around 1000 square meters.

Ladies and gentlemen,

China's further reform and opening up offers valuable opportunities to NZ and the cooperation between our two countries as well. Our bilateral relationship has maintained in a good momentum of development. The leaders of our two countries have kept very close communication and contacts with each other. China is committed to deepening the comprehensive strategic partnership based on mutual respect, equality and win-win cooperation. China's new development concept featured with co-ordination, innovation, openness, greenness and shared development is very much in line with that of NZ. Our two economies are highly complementary with each other. China's economy enjoys steady and stable growth and is expected to increase at medium and high level in the foreseeable future. We are faced with tremendous opportunities in developing our mutually beneficial co-operation in all areas.   

Trade has been the major driving force for NZ's economic growth. China has maintained to be NZ's No. one trading partner for five consecutive years. Over the past 10 years since we signed FTA, our bilateral trade has been tripled and increased from 6.8 billion to 27.8 billion NZD, accounting for 20% of NZ's import and export. NZ brands of products become more and more popular in the Chinese market.

Tourism is the second engine of NZ economy. China has been NZ second largest tourist source country and is expected to be the No one in a few years. Last year, tourists from China brought NZ with US$ 1.6 billion revenue. In next 5 years more than 700 million people will travel abroad. And more and more would love to travel to NZ, a 100% pure paradise country on earth. Of course, our NZ friends are most welcome to visit China as well. 2019 will be China-NZ Year of Tourism, we look forward to more tourism exchanges and cooperation with Northland, Waikato and Auckland.   

Fast growing tourists and trade will possibly transfer NZ's disadvantaged geographical location into an advantaged one. It will help make NZ an international transportation hub like Singapore, Paris and Dubai. For years, non-stop flights flying back and forth between major cities of China and Auckland per week has steadily rocketed to over 160 during peak seasons. Each flight generates as much as 180 million NZ dollars on average to NZ per year and also brings many job opportunities and other benefits. Air connection has not only facilitated the people-to-people exchanges but also brought opportunities for investment and trade.   

New mode of cooperation is gaining momentum. NZ is a very innovative country and has accumulated expertise and experience in open and environment-friendly development. In addition to primary industry, we have great potential to cooperate in "soft connections", such as trade facilitation, supply chain connectivity, technological innovation, energy conservation, business consulting and financial integration. We should focus on innovation to tap new sources of growth. Breakthroughs are being made one after another in frontier areas such as information technology, life  science, smart manufacturing, green energy and new material. New business forms are replacing existing ones at a faster pace. Enterprises from both China and NZ will give full play to the spirit of pioneering and entrepreneurship and work together in opening new areas of pragmatic cooperation in order to realize better and sustainable development, and bring more mutually beneficial results to our two peoples.   

Ladies and gentlemen,

Today's world is faced with complicated challenges as well as new opportunities. Only openness, dialogues and cooperation can bring more opportunities and create more space for development. One who chooses to close his door will only cut himself off from the rest of the world and lose his direction.   

Here I want to stress again that the China-New Zealand economic and trade cooperation is mutually beneficial in nature. We encourage Chinese companies to conduct economic cooperation in other countries including NZ on the basis of following market principles and international rules and abiding by local laws. We hope that New Zealand can level the playing field for Chinese enterprises' operation and contribute more to mutual trust and cooperation. It is our sincere hope that NZ central and local governments will also provide welcoming and fair environment for Chinese enterprises to do business here and to work together with their NZ partners to achieve win-win results. NZ friends are most welcome to do business in China, too. I am confident that through our joint efforts, the China-NZ comprehensive strategic partnership will be pushed into a new level.  

Wish all of you a great success!

Thank you!

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