President Xi Jinping delivers a keynote speech at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) CEO Summit in Da Nang, Vietnam, Nov 10, 2017. [Photo/Xinhua]
DA NANG, Vietnam — In his first speech outside China after a historic Party congress, President Xi Jinping on Nov 10 presented China’s “new journey” toward a great modern socialist country, as well as the opportunities it creates for the world.
Xi described the “new journey” as one of deepening reform across the board and unleashing dynamism for development; moving with the times and exploring new model of development; toward greater integration with the world and an open economy of higher standards; toward a better life for the people; and toward a new type of international relations and a community with a shared future for mankind.
“In the next 15 years, China will have an even larger market and more comprehensive development,” Xi said while delivering a keynote speech at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) CEO Summit in Vietnam’s central city of Da Nang.
He said that during that period, it is estimated that China will import $24 trillion worth of goods, attract $2 trillion of inbound direct investment and make $2 trillion of outbound investment.
In November next year, China will hold the first China International Import Expo in Shanghai, which will provide a new platform for expanding cooperation in China’s market among all parties, Xi said.
“China will not slow its steps in opening up itself,” Xi told the business leaders. “We will work together with other countries to create new drivers of common development through the launching of the Belt and Road Initiative.”
He promised that all businesses registered in China will be treated as equals, and that China will grant more powers to pilot free trade zones to conduct reform, and explore the opening of free trade ports.
Xi noted that China will speed up institutional reform for ecological conservation, pursue green, low-carbon and sustainable development, and implement the strictest possible system for environmental protection.
“By 2035, there will be a fundamental improvement in the environment; the goal of building a Beautiful China will be basically attained,” he said.
The Communist Party of China (CPC) successfully held its 19th National Congress last month. Xi, the helmsman of the world’s second largest economy, was re-elected general secretary of the CPC Central Committee at the First Plenary Session of the 19th CPC Central Committee, which was held a day after the Party congress concluded.
Overall guidelines and program of action were set out at the historic congress for the future development of the Party and the country, drawing a blueprint for China’s development between now and the middle of this century.
The plan of the CPC — as outlined by Xi — is to complete the building of a moderately prosperous society in all respects by 2020; basically realize socialist modernization by 2035; and develop China into a great modern socialist country that is prosperous, strong, democratic, culturally advanced, harmonious, and beautiful by the middle of this century.
When addressing the APEC CEO Summit on Nov 10, Xi said as China works hard to pursue innovation and higher quality of growth, new forms of business will keep emerging, more innovations will be used, and development of various regions in China will become more balanced.
“All this will create a more powerful and extensive impact, present more opportunities of cooperation and enable more countries to board the express train of China’s development,” Xi said.
Xi arrived in Da Nang on Nov 10 to attend the annual APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting, scheduled for Nov 10-11 with the theme of “Creating New Dynamism, Fostering a Shared Future.”
This year’s meeting comes against the backdrop of an improving global economy and a rebound in global trade and investment, despite risks and uncertainties.
Sharing his observations about the global economy, Xi said the world is witnessing profound changes in growth drivers, the model of global growth, economic globalization and the system of global economic governance.
He called on the 21 APEC members to continue to foster an open economy that benefits all, pursue innovation-driven development and create new drivers of growth, enhance connectivity and achieve interconnected development, and make economic development more inclusive and deliver its benefits to the people.
Xi defended the significance of economic globalization in his speech, saying that it has contributed greatly to global growth over the last few decades.
“Indeed, it has become an irreversible historical trend,” he said.
But he also acknowledged that economic globalization faces new adjustments in both form and substance.
“In pursuing economic globalization, we should make it more open and inclusive, more balanced, more equitable and beneficial to all,” he said.
He pointed out that the current headwinds confronting economic globalization is mostly generated by the lack of inclusiveness in development.
“Hard work is still needed if we are to bring the benefits of development to countries across the globe and people across our society, and thus turn our vision into reality,” he said.
President Xi renewed his call for building a Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific (FTAAP), saying it is the long-cherished dream of the business community in the region and can provide an institutional underpinning for growing an open economy in the Asia-Pacific.
Meanwhile, he again highlighted the important role of the Belt and Road Initiative.
“This initiative is from China, but it belongs to the world. It is rooted in history, but it is oriented toward the future. It focuses on the Asian, European and African continents, but it is open to all partners,” he said.
“I am confident that the launch of the Belt and Road Initiative will create a broader and more dynamic platform for Asia-Pacific cooperation,” he added.
President Xi Jinping delivers a keynote speech at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) CEO Summit in Da Nang, Vietnam, Nov 10, 2017.[Photo/Xinhua]
Following the APEC CEO summit, the Chinese President, along with other APEC leaders, held dialogue with representatives of the APEC Business Advisory Council, exchanging views on the new opportunities brought by the 19th CPC National Congress, the Belt and Road Initiative and other topics.
Peruvian President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski, who listened to Xi’s speech at the CEO summit, spoke highly of the address.
He told Xi in a brief meeting after the speech that Peru attaches great importance to the relationship with China and hope to reinforce mutually beneficial cooperation in fields of infrastructure, investment, energy and mineral resources.
Meanwhile, Xi’s remarks on economic globalization were applauded by other participants.
“In general, China, an economic power, can make important contributions to the regional economy so that the Asia-Pacific becomes a major engine to drive global economy and trade liberalization as stated by Xi,” said Nguyen Thien Chi, member of Executive Committee of Ho Chi Minh City’s Vietnam-China Friendship Association.
“Many people in the region want to establish the FTAAP soon to benefit from open and free trade and investment,” he said.
“President Xi said the word ‘inclusive’ for many times, and I think it’s a good thing,” said Sami Kteily, executive chairman of PEB Steel Buildings Co Ltd from Canada. “Economic growth shouldn’t be restricted to one country. The whole region must benefit from the economic growth.”
“I believe in multilateralism myself. I think the globalization is happening. It is the natural development of businesses and economies around the world,” said Michael W. Michalak, senior vice president and regional managing director of US-ASEAN Business Council.
“I think if Xi can lead the way to make it more inclusive, more fair, more open-minded, then that will be wonderful,” he added.