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Remarks by H.E. Ambassador Zhang Ming At the National Day Reception
2018/09/26

25 September 2018, Chinese Mission to the EU

Distinguished Guests,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Dear Friends,

Good evening. It is a great pleasure to have all of you with us on this lovely evening in celebration of the 69th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China. On behalf of the Chinese Mission to the EU, Chinese Embassy to Belgium and Ambassador CAO Zhongming, I would like to extend a warm welcome to you all, and express heartfelt gratitude to those who have shown long-time support for China’s development and the growth of China-EU as well as China-Belgium relations.

In the past 69 years, China has made new strides toward greater prosperity. This year is the first year for us in China to move toward the goal set by the Communist Party of China at its 19th National Congress. We have vigorously implemented the new development vision and pursued high-quality development. We have advanced the supply-side structural reform, and remained determined to fight the three critical battles, namely preventing and resolving the major risks, conducting targeted poverty alleviation and controlling pollution. China’s economy has stayed at a steady and positive course. In the first half of this year, China’s economy expanded by 6.8%, staying within the medium-high growth range of 6.7-6.9% for 12 quarters in a row. We have accelerated reform and opening-up, and provided better services. Our people are leading a more fulfilling and happier life.

China has made continued contribution to global peace and development. In the spirit of consultation, cooperation and benefit for all, China has advanced the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), aiming for the sharing of opportunities, benefits and prosperity. This year, China has successfully held the Boao Forum for Asia annual conference, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization summit, and the summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC), which have given a strong boost to China’s cooperation with the relevant countries. China has earnestly fulfilled its international responsibilities by upholding multilateralism and the rules-based global order, and by facilitating the political settlement of regional and international hotspot issues. China has been working hard for the building of a new type of international relations and a community of shared future for mankind.

This year marks the 40th anniversary of China’s reform and opening-up. As Chinese President Xi Jinping rightly pointed out, opening-up was key to China’s economic development in the past 40 years, and in the same vein, high-quality development of China’s economy in the future can only be achieved through greater openness. Since the start of this year, China has introduced a number of new measures to strengthen IPR protection, ease market access, improve business environment and boost imports. Last June, China released the new foreign investment negative list. Last July, China lowered import tariffs on nearly 1,500 consumer goods. Last August, China removed limits on foreign ownership of its domestic financial institutions. Later this year, the first China International Import Expo will be held in Shanghai, another landmark move to open up wider.

In the past 40 years, China has been taking the initiative to integrate into global economy, generating huge opportunities for global development. For years, China’s contribution rate to global growth has remained above 30%. Every year, China imports about US$2 trillion of goods and US$500 billion of services. Despite that multilateralism and free trade are being gravely challenged by unilateralism and protectionism that are rising in some part of the world, China remains determined to expand opening-up. China will firmly uphold WTO rules and the multilateral trading system, and strive to build an open world economy.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Dear Friends,

This year marks the 15th anniversary of the China-EU comprehensive strategic partnership. China-EU relations are keeping the momentum of sound and steady growth. Last July, the 20th China-EU Summit was successfully held with the adoption of a joint statement, a strong testimony to the comprehensive and strategic nature of China-EU relations. China and the EU agreed to forge synergy between the Belt and Road Initiative and the EU’s strategy for connecting Europe and Asia, which will not only create greater opportunities for China and the EU, but also contribute to global growth. China and the EU have continued to push the boundary of cooperation in such areas as trade and investment, science and innovation and green development, each drawing on the other’s strengths to the fullest extent. In the framework of the 2018 China-EU Tourism Year, the dynamic cultural events and people-to-people exchanges have greatly enhanced mutual understanding. China and the EU are major supporters of multilateralism and the rules-based multilateral trade system. It is in the shared interests of China and the EU to jointly uphold multilateralism and contribute to global peace, development and stability.

The China-Belgium all-round partnership of friendly cooperation maintains high-level performance. High-level exchanges are frequent, and political mutual trust is increasing. Cooperation on the Belt and Road Initiative is making good progress. Port and shipping cooperation between Chinese companies and the Ports of Antwerp and Zeebrugge is proceeding smoothly. The China-Europe express rail link is running well. The Volvo car plant in Ghent performs well. The China-Belgium Technology Center is making solid progress. The direct flights between China and Belgium have encouraged a growing number of Chinese students and tourists to come to Belgium. The cultural and people-to-people exchanges have brought Chinese and Belgian citizens closely together.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Dear Friends,

Looking back, we have every reason to be proud of what have been achieved. Looking ahead, we are fully confident about an even brighter future. Just as an old Chinese saying goes, “A flame could burn higher when everyone adds a piece of wood to it.” To promote China’s development, bring forward the China-EU and China-Belgium relations, and preserve international rules, like-minded partners must make concerted efforts. China and Europe, including Belgium, will continue to move ahead together, take cooperation to a new level, and make new contribution to the benefit of the entire planet.

Thank you.

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