Speech by Consul General Long Zhou at Australian Renminbi Forum 2019

( Investment Center, 12 Jun 2019)

Hon Martin Pakula, Minister for Jobs, Innovation and Trade,

Mr. Christopher Kent , Deputy Governor of RBA,

Dr. ZHANG Zhengxin, Deputy Director General of the International Department of the People’s Bank of China,

Mr. David Olsson, Chairman of Australian Renminbi Working Group,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Dear Friends,

It is my pleasure to attend this forum and meet many new and old friends. Let me first thank the Australian Renminbi Working Group, and Victoria Government for organizing this event. I would also like to warmly welcome the delegation from the People’s Bank of China to share with us the latest progress about internationalization of RMB.

China and Australia established diplomatic relations 47 years ago. The development of our relations since then has proved that China and Australia are important partners, not adversaries, and that a healthy and stable relationship based on mutual trust and mutual benefits conforms to the interests of both peoples. China has been Australia's largest trading partner, largest source of international students and overseas tourists. Nearly 2 million people travel between the two countries each year. About 200 thousand Chinese students are studying in Australia. Each week, there are more than 200 flights between our two countries. We have every reason to further strengthen our mutual understanding and mutual trust, and expand our practical cooperation, thus bringing more benefits to our two peoples.

In this context, I would like to highlight the importance of bilateral financial cooperation and internationalization of RMB. The China-Australia Free Trade Agreement (ChAFTA) entered into force on December 2015. This agreement not only promotes bilateral trade significantly but also secures a range of unprecedented financial services commitments between our two countries. The RMB offshore center in Sydney was launched in 2015, following the appointment of Bank of China in Sydney as the RMB clearing bank for local RMB market in Australia. China’s central bank has extended a bilateral currency swap agreement worth 200 billion RMB with the Reserve Bank of Australia for another three years in 2018. All these arrangements will facilitate deeper participation by financial institutions from both countries, strengthen two-way trade and investment and enable future growth of the bilateral economic relationship. In the future, we can expect that RMB and Australian dollar will be the main currencies used for payments between our two countries.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Financial integration is an important pillar of the Belt and Road Initiative. International multilateral financial institutions and commercial banks have played an innovative role in expanding the channels of diversified financing, providing stable, transparent and quality financial support for the Belt and Road Initiative. Under the strong support from Victorian government and all related parties, the bilateral cooperation between China and Victoria has enjoyed strong momentum. Victorian government signed with China’s National Development and Reform Commission an MOU on "Belt and Road" cooperation. The MOU is, in Premier Andrews words, is a “landmark agreement that recognizes the close relationship between Victoria and China”.

At the Second Belt and Road Forum for International Co-operation in late April, Chinese President Xi Jinping said, "We should focus on priorities and project execution, move forward with results-oriented implementation, just like an architect refining the blueprint, and jointly promote high-quality Belt and Road co-operation." These words mark the beginning of a new journey for BRI development characterised by high-quality international collaboration.

As the BRI starts a new journey, its high-quality development will create more opportunities for deeper China-Victoria collaboration on various fields and this would ensure wider, higher and deeper development of the China-Victoria cooperative relations.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The world is undergoing profound changes unseen in a century. The new round of scientific and technological revolution and industrial transformation is leading the forces reshaping the international landscape and determining the future of mankind.

However, at the same time, unilateralism and protectionism are on the rise. Economic globalisation encounters headwind. And the international economic order and multilateral trade system experience severe setback.

A big Western power, adopting bullying trade policies and protectionist measures, is the major force behind this gloomy picture. This big power is using tariff weapon against other countries according to its domestic law and at the excuse of safeguarding "national security", at the expense of the industrial chain and undermines the stability and security of the supply chain. This goes against the most fundamental and central WTO rules on most-favoured-nation treatment and tariff bindings. This undermines the authority of the WTO and its dispute settlement system. And this puts the multilateral trade system and the international trade order in jeopardy. This has not only affected its business relations with China. The impact on the global business environment could be extremely negative and worrisome.

China’s position is firm and clear. We firmly oppose any form of unilateralism and trade protectionism. We are committed to being a builder of the international community, not a destroyer, and being a bridge-builder rather than a trench-digger. We are committed to nurturing true friendship, not groundless suspicions. We are committed to win-win cooperation, not confrontation or zero-sum game. We are committed to greater engagement and understanding, not the so-called "decoupling" or estrangement.

For the severe setbacks in China-US trade talks the US should bear full responsibility, because it has gone against consensus and broken promises during the talks. By contrast, China went into the negotiations in good faith and in the spirit of mutual respect, equality and mutual benefit. We had tried to find a solution through consultations. We are always open for talks.

Globalization is an irreversible trend of the times and countries need to work together to address various problems and challenges facing humanity. I sincerely hope that entrepreneurs from China and Australia could join hands to meet the challenges, stay confident in our cooperation and take concrete actions to translate opportunities into mutually-beneficial results. Together, we could build a new era for our cooperation and together, we could create a prosperous future for our relations!

In conclusion, I wish the tenth Australian Renminbi Forum a great success!

Thank you.

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