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Remarks by H.E. Ambassador Zhang Ming At the Luncheon Hosted by the American European Community Association
2019/09/21

On September 19, 2019, Ambassador Zhang Ming, Head of the Mission of the People’s Republic of China to the European Union, attended and addressed the Luncheon hosted by the American European Community Association. Present at the Luncheon were leaders of the EU organizations, ambassadors to the EU, executives of European and American companies, heads of the associations of related industries, experts and scholars, and representatives of the political and commercial circles.

Ambassador Zhang Ming noted the world is at a crossroads where we must answer a question: do we opt for openness, cooperation and win-win results, OR isolation, confrontation and selfish interests? The Trump administration started the conflict in the first place under the slogan “America First”, not only affecting the economies and people’s daily life of the two countries, but also disrupting global industrial and supply chains and sending the world into the recession trap. We don’t want a trade war or its escalation. We want to seek solutions through sensible consultation and cooperation. At the same time, we have the resolve to fight back and we have credible countermeasures at our disposal. We will never give up China’s core and fundamental interests.

Ambassador Zhang Ming pointed out that the China-US trade conflict reflects serious challenges to global order. That is to say, unilateralism and protectionism are running wild. The fundamental rules of international economic and trade order are being undermined. The very existence of the WTO is facing a threat never seen before. Deficit in peace, development, governance and trust poses a severe challenge to global governance. In this context, the policy choice of the EU, the US, China and other major economies matters a lot to the present and the future. China’s choice is clear-cut.

First, we go for openness. Even if some are trying to cut themselves off from the outside world, China always opens up its arms to embrace the world. This is the most important thing we have learned from the past 70 years since the founding of the People’s Republic of China, especially from the past 40 years of reform and opening-up. China’s commitment to openness will not change. Over recent years China has rolled out a series of measures to expand opening-up. The new negative list for foreign investment was shortened to only 40 items. The number of free trade pilot zones has increased to 18. Last week, China announced the removal of QFII investment quota restrictions. These measures are very well received in the world.

Second, we go for cooperation. The Chinese economy is entering a new phase and it will offer greater opportunities and added-value to various stakeholders who will cooperate with China in a more innovative, balanced and sustainable way. Take 5G for example. The 5G standard-setting is a global effort. Chinese companies account for about 30% of 5G patents and they work together with European and American companies to promote 5G R&D and commercial rollout. China welcomes foreign companies’ participation in its 5G network building, and we hope other countries could foster a fair, open and non-discriminatory environment for Chinese companies as well.

Third, we go for rules. Openness and cooperation must be based on rules. The updated Foreign Investment Law stipulates that Chinese and foreign investors are treated equally. The Law strengthens protection of IPR and other legitimate rights and interests of foreign investors. Forced transfer of technology through administrative means is prohibited. We strive to clearly define the boundary between the government and market and regulate state intervention according to law. While observing WTO rules, we also support its necessary reform, in response to the current crisis and the changing times. China and the EU are staying in close touch on the specific matters within the Joint Working Group on WTO reform.

In the follow-up Q&A session, Ambassador Zhang Ming answered a series of questions on China-EU relations, fair competition, investment market access and Brexit. It is widely believed that China and the EU should maintain strategic communication, promote pragmatic cooperation in various fields, and jointly address global challenges.

The American European Community Association is based in Brussels, with its membership including more than 70 European and American multinational companies. It is intended to build a platform of communication and exchanges among the politicians and business people from around the people.

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