Remarks by H.E. Ambassador Wang Xiaolong at the Fifth China International Import Expo Road Show
8 June 2022
Tena Koutou Katoa.
It gives me great pleasure to join you online for this year’s CIIE Roadshow! I was planning to join you in person, but unfortunately some scheduling conflicts has made this impossible. I would like to take this opportunity to extend my warm welcome to all participants today, and my heartfelt thanks also goes to all friends who care about and support China-New Zealand economic and trade cooperation.
As many friends present today come from the business community, I’m sure you are interested in China’s current economic situation. Let me share with you some information and perspectives on the Chinese economy.
In a pandemic-ravaged world, China has done its best to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on economic and social development. China is the only major economy to report economic growth for 2020, and its economy grew 8.1 percent in 2021. And its national economy got off to a generally steady start in 2022. It recorded a growth of 4.8 percent, and the total value of imports and exports of goods grew by 10.7 percent, the paid-in FDI expanded by 25.6 percent in the first quarter of 2022.
These are all hard-won achievements, in particular against the backdrop of a complex international environment and some concentrated surges in COVID-19 cases at home. It fully indicates that the momentum of the sustained recovery in China’s economy remains unchanged, the fundamentals sustaining China’s sound economic growth in the long run remains unchanged and the Chinese economy’s great potential, resilience, and vitality remain unchanged. With a comprehensive industrial system, a huge market, immense dividends from reform and opening-up and strong economic governance capabilities, China is fully capable of effectively coping with various risks and challenges, achieving sustained and sound economic development.
Many friends may also care about the recent Coronavirus outbreak in China, as the Omicron variant posed severe challenges to the faltering global economic recovery. Since March this year, China has withstood the most severe challenge on COVID-19 control and prevention since the pandemic outbreak in Wuhan in early 2020, as sporadic resurgences of domestic cases erupted in a number of regions across China. With the firm adherence to the dynamic zero-COVID policy, Chinese government has consistently adopted a people-first and life-first approach. This policy is not aimed at realizing zero infection, but rather at bringing COVID-19 under control at the minimum social cost in the shortest time possible, and effectively protecting the health, normal life and production of the Chinese people to the maximum. This strategy stems from a deep care for the vulnerable, a strong belief in the people’s strength and resilience, and unswerving faith in the country’s future. Frankly speaking, without adhering to such policy, the price for China, and for the world could be far higher. According to the research published in Nature Medicine, China will risk over 1.5 million COVID deaths if it drops its dynamic zero-COVID policy. Fortunately, with concerted efforts of Chinese people, progress has been made in China’s latest battle with COVID-19. This round of outbreak has been brought under effective control in Shanghai and Beijing. And Shanghai, China’s most populous city, was announced and started to implement plans for businesses to reopen from June 1. People’s life is returning to normal and the resumption of production is accelerating. We have full confidence that China’s economy will be bouncing back quickly from the latest Covid outbreak.
Dear friends, opening-up is a hallmark of contemporary China. No matter how the world will change, China’s faith in and its commitment to reform and opening up will not waver. China’s resolve to open up at a higher level remain unchanged and the door of China will open even wider to the world. China International Import Expo (CIIE), as a signature event of China’s opening-up and a world-class event of open collaboration, has proven itself to be a pathfinding avenue and a significant platform to showcase innovative solutions and an unrivaled occasion to tap into the potential of China’s vast market. It demonstrates China’s resolve to expand high-level opening up, share development opportunities with the world and make economic globalization more open, inclusive, balanced and beneficial for all.
In the course of participation in CIIE, kiwi friends have long been important witnesses and practitioners of how businesses from different countries could share in development opportunities and benefit from win-win cooperation. More than 200 New Zealand enterprises participated in the past four CIIE exhibitions. The clean, green and innovative national branding of New Zealand has enabled its products to succeed in the huge Chinese market. Numerous New Zealand products are making their way into millions of Chinese households. Even against the backdrop of pandemic, we saw a growing trend of contracts signed by New Zealand exhibitors during CIIE over the last two years. As long as China’s economy keeps growing, as long as China stays committed to opening-up policy, and as long as China-New Zealand relations progresses on a healthy trajectory, I believe, kiwi friends’ trade and economic relations with Chinese counterparts enjoys a brighter shared future.
I would like to end my remarks with what Chinese Confucius said, “It is always a pleasure to greet a friend from afar”. I encourage and invite more New Zealand enterprises to participate in this year’s CIIE in November and wish you success in your endeavours.