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China's Role in Pushing forward International Trade and Economic Growth
Presentation by CG LU Xu at the International Forum of China Institute Canada
2018/08/28

Thank you very much for having me here to talk about China’s role in this regard.

Before coming down to the new models which seem a little bit at the methodology level, let’s start with thinking where we should head into the future.

Nowadays, when we talk about the current world situation, there are three words that have been frequently repeated: uncertainty, instability, and unpredictability. I would like to add another three words going parallel with them: populism, protectionism, and unilateralism.

Many people get lost in the face of the ever stronger wave of the gloomy momentum. It is like once again human beings are standing at a crossroads and wondering where to go and what to choose.

Do we need to be more isolated or open? Do we choose to have more conflicts or cooperation?

I don’t know what the answers are from others, but for China, it has been pretty clear, firm and consistent.

Please allow me to illustrate it in three dimensions: First, how does China look at the world?Secondly, how does China look at itself? Thirdly, what is China going to do afterwards?

Our ancestors told us, once the trend of the development of the world is clearly seen, the confidence towards the future can be regained.

The phenomenon of the black swan or grey rhinoceros might not be something temporary, but we are believed to be wise enough to find the way out.

China regards peace and prosperity as the common goals for mankind to achieve, and fairness, justice, democracy and freedom as the common shared values among the international communities.

Globalization cannot be stopped and protectionism seems to be protective for a while, but cannot bring prosperity and safety in the long run.

“To be or not to be” is not only Hamlet’s line in Shakespeare’s play but also tells us we have the common destiny to fulfill no matter who we are. We have to lean on each other in order to  survive.

It is the responsibility of the leaders of countries to recognize and respect it with a vision and courage.

Let’s turn our eyes to the second dimension. How does China look at itself?

After 40 years of reforming and opening to the outside world, China has achieved an undeniable success but is still not perfect.

It is true that we have a marvelous record regarding the economic numbers, for instance, GDP has grown up to 230 times what it was 40 years ago and trade volume 800 times.

But we are still a developing country with a GDP per capita of $8000, ranking No. 70 on the world list.

We still got lots of areas underdeveloped and 30m people in poverty. We have a problem of unbalanced development between the east and the west, between urban and rural areas. We have environmental problems which cast a shadow over the quality of lives.

There is still room for our social governance capability to improve. We still have many economic risks to tackle.

When we bear all these in mind, we seldom quarrel with each other but just do it. We believe that we have taken the right direction and won’t stop doing that.

The problems we are facing are either what we haven’t touched upon or what emerge from the process of development that can only be solved through further advancement rather than faltering.

The valuable lessons we have drawn from the previous 40 years of experience are first, carefully balancing the market function in resource allocation with government function in macro control.

Secondly, learning from the rest of the world where it suits

China’s development best, and merging into the world system which is beneficial to most of its members.

Thirdly, cherishing the stability both internally and externally and trying to be a defender of world peace and prosperity.

Some economists said there is a China model in regard to economic and social development. If there is, it should be one totally different from the western pattern. It is not practical and fair to be judged from the western point of view.

So, what is China going to do next? These are the actions on my list:

----To obey the WTO rules and resolve the trade disputes among members within the framework;

----To encourage more regional or bilateral free trade agreements to be signed;

----To continue working on the Belt and Road Initiative so that the countries concerned can benefit from it together with China;

----To open even more widely to the outside world.

The Shanghai Import Expo to be held in November this year is only one example to showcase our determination in this regard.

Until recently, there are more than 130 countries get registered for participation, including 2,800 companies from all over the world, among which 150 are from the United States. It is estimated that over 150,000 buyers will attend.  

Let me finish my presentation by putting up another three words: confidence, determination, and solidarity.

They are more important than anything else that we need to have right now.

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