Speech by Consul-General Zhao Jian at the Business Forum on the 1st China International Import Expo

(30 November 2018)

Hon John Brumby, National President and Chairman of ACBC,

Mr Paul Stagg, Executive Director of Trade Victoria,

Ms Liu Bing, Asia Lead of Austrade,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Dear Friends,

Welcome to the Business Forum on the 1st China International Import Expo (CIIE) jointly hosted by the Chinese Consulate, the Victorian government and Austrade.

The CIIE initiated by Chinese President Xi Jinping was successfully inaugurated in Shanghai in early November. It was attended by over 3,000 companies and more than 400,000 Chinese and foreign buyers who sealed US$57.8 billion worth of deals.

The CIIE is the world’s first import expo held at the national level, a ground-breaking initiative in the history of global trade. It was an event hosted by China with the support of many international organizations including the WTO and a large number of countries. It is not China’s solo show, but rather a chorus involving many countries around the world.

Held against the backdrop of growing trade protectionism, the Expo has demonstrated China’s consistent position of supporting the multilateral trading system and promoting free trade. It is a concrete action by China to promote the building of an open world economy and support economic globalization. It is also a testament to China’s firm determination to embrace the world with open arms.

To my knowledge, more than 200 Australian companies attended the Expo and signed 11 agreements with Chinese companies with a total value of AU$15 billion. I am very happy to learn that the 60-plus participating Victorian companies have achieved fruitful results. And I am sure that you have also had some hand-on experiences of China’s openness and the charm of the Chinese market.

Dear Friends,

Economic globalization is an irreversible trend of history. China will unswervingly follow the win-win strategy of opening-up, further tap into its potential to increase import, continue to ease market access and foster a world-class business environment. China will remain a strong advocate of global openness, a stable engine of global growth, a big dynamic  market with enormous business opportunities and an active contributor to the global governance reform.

Five years ago, President Xi announced a major initiative to build a “Silk Road Economic Belt” and a “21st Century Maritime Silk Road” or the “Belt and Road” Initiative. Over the past five years, China has signed BRI cooperation documents with over 140 countries and international organizations, and a large number of important cooperation projects have been implemented on the ground. The cargo trade between China and other participating countries of the Initiative has amounted to over US$5 trillion, and China’s direct investment in those countries exceeded US$60 billion, creating over 200,000 local jobs.

Although the BRI originated in China, the opportunities and outcomes it generates will benefit the world. It is an open platform for cooperation that follows the principle of extensive consultation and collaboration for shared benefits. It is not designed to serve any hidden geopolitical agenda, nor is it targeted against anyone. It is not an exclusive club of a few, but open to all. It is not a “trap” for anyone, but rather a major transparent initiative with which China shares opportunities and pursues common development with the rest of the world.

China and Australia are each other’s important cooperation partner. Continued development of bilateral relations serves the shared interests of our two peoples. It is important that we treat each other as equals and with respect and engage in constructive dialogue and win-win cooperation to take our relations forward to the benefit to the people.

Last month, the Victorian government signed with China’s National Development and Reform Commission an MOU on “Belt and Road” cooperation, which, in Premier Andrews words, is a “landmark agreement” that “recognizes the close relationship between Victoria and China”. It is the firm commitment and vision with which the Victorian government has developed relations with China that has given Victoria a head start in participating in the BRI cooperation, unlocking more opportunities for Victorian companies to expand business cooperation with China.

In April next year, China will host the 2nd Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation in Beijing. Members of the business community here are warmly welcome to participate.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Dear Friends,

China is a huge market with a population of more than 1.3 billion. It is estimated that in the next 15 years, China’s import of goods and services will exceed US$30 trillion and US$10 trillion respectively; in the next five years, it will attract more than US$600 billion in foreign investment and invest a total of US$750 billion overseas, and the number of outbound visits of Chinese tourists will reach 700 million.

As China continues to be a powerhouse of the global economic growth, there will be abundant potential opportunities in the Chinese market. Present here today are friends who have witnessed, contributed to and benefited from the friendly relations between China and Australia. I hope you will rise to the opportunities and continue to support and promote the friendly exchanges and mutually beneficial cooperation between our two countries to jointly build a brighter future.

Thank you.

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