August 9, 2022
Mr. Russel Flannery,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It gives me great pleasure to attend the 4th China-U.S. Business Forum held by Forbes. The theme this year is “New Paths Forward”, which is highly timely and relevant for exploring the direction for China-U.S. economic and trade relations. I wish to use this opportunity to share with you some of my thoughts here.
The biggest driving force for the “new paths forward” for China-U.S. economic and trade ties is the bright prospects of China’s economic growth. Despite the complexities and difficulties for the Chinese economy at home and abroad, we have effectively coordinated COVID response and economic and social development, and implemented a package of policy measures to stabilize economic performance. As a result, China’s GDP grew by 4.8% in the first quarter this year, and registered positive growth in the second quarter despite all the pressures. Such performances have not come easily. Having said this, the impact of the pandemic is only short-term, and has not caused problems for the economy from within. The fundamentals of the Chinese economy for long-term, steady performance remain unchanged. The basic features of the Chinese economy — full potential, great resilience, strong vitality, vast room for maneuver and plenty of policy tools — remain unchanged. The various advantages of China’s development remain unchanged. We have full confidence in the future of the Chinese economy. China’s development means opportunities for the whole world.
The biggest favorable condition for the “new paths forward” is that China is opening wider, encouraging consumption, and fostering a market- and law-based and internationalized business environment. China will open up at a higher standard, and broaden market access for foreign investors. Currently all the restrictions on the access to China’s manufacturing sector have been lifted, and the service sector is being further opened up. The number of items on the negative list for foreign investment has been cut from over 100 to 31. At the same time, China takes expanding domestic demand as a strategic basis, and is working hard to remove the bottlenecks in economic circulation, promote market-based reform of factors of production, improve the structure of income distribution, expand the middle-income group, and achieve consumption upgrading. China has the biggest market in the world and an increasing capability of consumption — this is the greatest dividend that China can provide for the world.
China respects innovation and intellectual property rights. They are what China’s development needs, and the essential feature of a new system of higher-standard open economy that China is building. In 2021, Chinese applicants filed 69,500 Patent Contract Treaty (PCT) applications, making China the top PCT filer in the world for three consecutive years. Foreign applicants submitted 158,000 invention patent applications in China, up by 3.6% year on year. Every outcome of innovation must be respected and protected. Every infringement on intellectual property rights must be condemned and held accountable. We have set up IPR courts in many places, as well as specialized IPR tribunals in some provinces to enhance IPR protection. Strengthening IPR protection is always an ongoing process that will never end. If any of you meets any IPR issue in China, please do not hesitate to raise it to central and local governments. You are also welcome to let us at the Chinese embassy and consulates in the U.S. know. We will handle it according to law.
The biggest feature of the “new paths forward” should be win-win. China-U.S. economic and trade cooperation has been in place for more than 40 years. Our industries are deeply integrated, and our trade is highly complementary. The model of win-win cooperation has been there for a long time. American companies, who trade with China and who invest and do business in China, all know this, and they know it well. They have keenly felt that China-U.S. trade cooperation is win-win. The enterprises present today are all contributors and beneficiaries to such cooperation. I believe that win-win will remain the most prominent feature of our economic and trade relations.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
We should be optimistic about the future, but we should also face up to the difficulties on our path forward. China-U.S. economic and trade cooperation is confronted with serious challenges and uncertainties. The first one is whether our bilateral relations can maintain stability. The China-U.S. relationship is at a crossroads. Using strategic competition to define our ties, taking China as the primary competitor and most serious long-term challenge — such misperception and misjudgment will only raise the tension and lead our relations to the track of confrontation and conflict, and put even more pressure on our economic and trade cooperation.
The Taiwan question is the most important and most sensitive issue at the very heart of China-U.S. relations. If not well handled, it will bring serious and even disruptive impact on our cooperation. Just last week, in disregard of the strong opposition of China and the doubts and criticisms of many Americans, U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited China’s Taiwan region. By order of succession, the Speaker is the third-highest-ranking official in the U.S. government. Traveling in a military aircraft, she paid a high-profile “official visit to Taiwan”, as her office described it in her arrival statement, and was given full-protocol treatment by Taiwan’s Democratic Progressive Party authorities, who make no secret of pursuing independence in their party platform. Such a visit has openly broken America’s commitment not to develop official relations with Taiwan, and is an extremely irresponsible, provocative and dangerous move. This is a serious violation of the one-China principle and the provisions of the three Sino-U.S. joint communiqués. It has a severe impact on the political foundation of China-U.S. relations, seriously infringes on China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, and gravely undermines peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait. China naturally has to make necessary and legitimate response, to defend its core interests. Otherwise, respecting sovereignty and territorial integrity — a basic norm governing international relations will become empty talk, and the international order will be in chaos and turbulence. Taiwan is China’s Taiwan. Why would some people trample on China’s red line on the Taiwan question, while emphasizing sovereignty and territorial integrity on the Ukraine issue? This is typical double standard.
Americans believe in the spirit of contract. You are from the business community, and you know that business people take the commitments they make very seriously. On the Taiwan question, the position of the Chinese government and the pursuit of the Chinese people are plain and simple: China’s territory must not be ceded, and China must achieve reunification. The international documents that the U.S. has signed, including the Cairo Declaration in 1943 and the Potsdam Proclamation in 1945, must be followed, and the bilateral commitments the U.S. has made, including those in the three Sino-U.S. joint communiques, must be honored.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
China-U.S. cooperation in various areas cannot do without the general atmosphere of our bilateral relations. Due to Speaker Pelosi’s visit, China has to suspend the talks with the U.S. on climate change. The U.S. side said that by doing this, China is punishing the whole world, especially developing countries. But the U.S. cannot represent the whole world. China always takes the promises it makes very seriously, and does everything possible to honor them. We will stay committed to meet our goals of carbon peaking and carbon neutrality, take an active part in international cooperation on climate change, provide support and help for other developing countries as best as we can, and make our due contribution to global response to climate change. It is hoped that the U.S. should earnestly fulfill its historical responsibility and obligation on climate change. The U.S. has also used the lie of “forced labor” in Xinjiang to sanction and suppress Chinese PV enterprises. This has caused direct damage to China-U.S. climate cooperation, and forced many Chinese workers, including Uyghur workers, to become jobless.
There are challenges also because some people try to decouple China and the U.S. and cut off supplies. Normal economic and trade cooperation has been politicized and linked to security issues. The Section 301 tariffs on China are still in place. Over 1,000 Chinese entities and individuals have been put on various lists of sanctions and restrictions. Investments from Chinese enterprises are being closely scrutinized, while American companies are not allowed to invest in some “key industries” in China. These have gone far beyond normal and fair competition. In the 21st century today, it is unrealistic and impossible to return to the old path of closedness and isolation and undermine the stability of global industrial chain and supply chain. Our economic and trade cooperation should be driven by our common interests, not by fear.
Dear friends, you are gathering today for the Business Forum, because you know that we need openness and inclusiveness, and we need active actions in our trade relations. I am ready to work with you to take our trade and business back to their due position in our bilateral relations, and ensure that they remain the anchor and propeller of our ties. Let business and trade create happiness for the people of China and the United States!