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Jointly charting a course toward a brighter future

Source: Xinhua | 2018-11-17

Chinese President Xi Jinping delivers a keynote speech titled Jointly Charting a Course Toward a Brighter Future while attending the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) CEO Summit in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea, on Nov. 17, 2018. [Photo by Ju Peng/Xinhua]

PORT MORESBY, Nov. 17 (Xinhua) -- Chinese President Xi Jinping delivered here Saturday a keynote speech titled Jointly Charting a Course Toward a Brighter Future at the APEC CEO Summit.

The following is the full text of the speech:

Jointly charting a course toward a brighter future

Keynote Speech by H.E. Xi Jinping, President of the People's Republic of China

At the APEC CEO Summit

Port Moresby, 17 November 2018

Honorable Prime Minister Peter O'Neill,

Chairman Isikeli Taureka,

Members of the business community,

Ladies and gentlemen,

Good Morning! It gives me great pleasure to come to the picturesque city of Port Moresby and meet with you on board Pacific Explorer. As we brave the rough waters of the global economy and confront the many risks and challenges, it is all too befitting that we have come together on this ship to chart the course for future development and cooperation.

The theme of this CEO Summit, "Inclusion in the Age of Disruption: Charting a Common Future", couldn't be more important. The world today is going through major development, transformation and change. While economic globalization surges forward, global growth is shadowed by protectionism and unilateralism. A new revolution in science, technology and industry is in the making; but old driving forces are yet to be replaced by new ones. The international landscape is undergoing profound changes, but imbalance in development is yet to be addressed. The reform of the global governance system is gathering momentum, but improving its efficiency remains a major challenge.

The changes we are encountering in the world are unseen in a century. Changes create opportunities, but more often than not, they are accompanied by risks and challenges. Mankind has once again reached a crossroads. Which direction should we choose? Cooperation or confrontation? Openness or closing one's door? Win-win progress or a zero-sum game? The interests of all countries and indeed, the future of mankind hinge on the choice we make.

A review of the world's modern history clearly shows that different choices would lead the world onto different paths.

In the Asia-Pacific, the establishment of APEC is such a success story. Its birth and growth echoed the historical trend of openness and integration, our region's fervent desire for development and our people's need to meet challenges through cooperation. Openness and cooperation in the Asia-Pacific has not only boosted its prosperity but also injected vitality into the vast ocean of global economy. Today's Asia-Pacific has the world's most dynamic and promising economy, which is recognized as a key engine driving global growth.

However, not all that happened in the past are success stories. Mankind has learned lessons the hard way. World War II, for instance, plunged mankind into the abyss of calamity in the last century. Not far away from where we are meeting now are the sites of the fierce Battle of the Coral Sea and the Battle of Guadalcanal in World War II. Today, this part of the ocean has long restored its peace and calm, but never should we forget the lessons of history.

An ancient Chinese philosopher observed that one needs to clean the mirror before taking a look at himself and that one should learn the lessons of the past before making decisions of the day. In reviewing history, we should draw its lessons to prevent the recurrence of past tragedies. Facing the surging historical trend, we need to ask ourselves: How can we steer the right course for global economic development? How can the international community find an effective way of conducting global governance? I believe it is imperative that we keep the following focuses:

First, we should focus on openness to create more space for development. Economic globalization is the sure way for the human society to achieve development, and the multilateral trading system has created opportunities for us all. In today's world, countries' interests are so closely intertwined, and the global supply chain, industrial chain and value chain are so closely connected. We are all links of the global chain of cooperation; increasingly, we are becoming one and same community with shared interests and a shared future.

This is the working of the laws of economics, a fact no one can change. We need to gain a keen appreciation of this underlying trend of our times and view the changing world for what it is and, on that basis, respond to new developments and meet new challenges in a responsible and rules-based way. Attempts to erect barriers and cut the close economic ties among countries work against the laws of economics and the trend of history and run counter to the shared desire of people around the world. This is a short-sighted approach and it is doomed to failure.

Each era faces problems of its day. Problems themselves are not to be afraid of; what truly matters is for us to take a right approach to resolve the problems. Resorting to old practices such as protectionism and unilateralism will not resolve problems. On the contrary, they can only add uncertainties to the global economy. Only openness and cooperation can bring more opportunities and create more space for development. This is a well proven historical fact. One who chooses to close his door will only cut himself off from the rest of the world and lose his direction.

APEC is a pioneer in building an open global economy. As the Bogor Goals are set for 2020, we should set our sights on post-2020 cooperation and endeavor to build a free trade area of the Asia-Pacific (FTAAP). We should say no to protectionism and unilateralism, uphold the WTO-centered multilateral trading system, make economic globalization more open, inclusive, balanced and beneficial to all, and expand converging interests and share opportunities through opening-up and cooperation.

Second, we should focus on development to deliver more benefits to our peoples. More than anything else, we should strive to deliver better lives to our people. Every country is entitled to an equal right to development; and no one has the right or the power to stop people in developing countries from pursuing a better life. We should strengthen development cooperation and help developing countries eliminate poverty so that people in all countries will live better lives. This is what fairness is essentially about; it is also a moral responsibility of the international community.

We should make the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development a part of our national development strategies, promote coordinated advances in the economic, social and environmental fields, pursue inclusive development in keeping with our respective national conditions, and forge equal and balanced global development partnerships. Developed countries should honor their commitments on official development assistance and increase support to developing countries.

We should give priority to development in international economic policy coordination and have a clear focus on development when adopting policies and rules on trade and investment, IPR protection, the digital economy and other areas. By doing so, we can create more opportunities and a more enabling environment for the development of all countries as well as robust drivers and a stable environment for global growth. The principle of "special and differential treatment", which is a cornerstone of the WTO, is not to be challenged. Otherwise the very foundation of the multilateral trading system will be shaken.

Third, we should focus on inclusiveness and promote interactions. We live on the same planet. It is home to more than 200 countries and regions, 2,500-plus ethnic groups and over 7 billion people. Trying to erase their differences will not work. Such differences are not a hindrance to exchanges, still less a cause for confrontation. Diversity and interaction between different civilizations, social systems and paths can provide strong impetus for human progress. We should reject arrogance and prejudice, be respectful of and inclusive toward others, and embrace the diversity of our world. We should seek common ground while putting aside differences, draw upon each other's strengths and pursue co-existence in harmony and win-win cooperation.

When it comes to choosing a development path for a country, no one is in a better position to make the decision than the people of that country. Just as one does not expect a single prescription to cure all diseases, one should not expect a particular model of development to fit all countries. Blindly copying the development model of others will only be counterproductive, so will be any attempt to impose one's own development model on others.

Fourth, we should focus on innovation to tap new sources of growth. Breakthroughs are being made one after another in frontier areas such as information technology, life sciences, smart manufacturing and green energy, and new materials, new products and new business forms are replacing existing ones at a faster pace. Big data, 3D printing and artificial intelligence, which we read about only in science fiction in the past, are now part of our daily life. The future is already with us.

In a boat race, those who row the hardest will win. If we do not move proactively to adapt to the surging tide of new scientific revolution and industrial transformation, we risk missing valuable opportunities or even falling behind the times. What we should do is to lose no time in making every effort to explore new growth drivers and development paths, and remove all institutional obstacles holding back innovation. We should boost innovation and market vitality and deepen international exchanges and cooperation on innovation so as to better meet our respective and common challenges in development.

The sweeping new scientific revolution and industrial transformation will have a profound impact on the mode of production, way of life and values of human society. The need to strike a balance between equity and efficiency, capital and labor, technology and employment has become a common challenge for the international community. If not handled properly, this issue will further widen the wealth gap between the North and the South. We should gain a keen understanding of the complex dimensions of this issue and make the right decision. This will enable us to steer the new scientific revolution and industrial transformation in the right direction.

Scientific and technological innovations should meet people's needs. Every country is entitled to benefit from such innovations made through both their own efforts and international cooperation. Scientific and technological innovations should not be locked up or become profit-making tools for just a few. The IPR regime is designed to protect and encourage innovation, not to create or widen the scientific and technological divide. We should develop policy institutions and systems that are responsive to the new scientific revolution and industrial transformation, and foster an enabling environment for international cooperation that will deliver the fruits of innovation to more countries and peoples.

Fifth, we should focus on a rules-based approach to improve global governance. With the painful lessons of two world wars in mind, countries established the global governance framework underpinned by the United Nations and composed of the IMF, the World Bank, the WTO and other institutions. This framework, while not an ideal one, represents an important step in human history. Indeed, it has been pivotal to global peace and development in the past decades. We must strengthen rules-based global governance if we are to achieve stability and development. Rules should be formulated by the international community, not in a might-is-right way. Once the rules are made, they should not be followed or bent as one sees fit, and they should not be applied with double standards for selfish agendas.

For the system of global economic governance to be equitable and efficient, it must keep up with the times. We should advance the reform of the global governance system on the principle of conducting consultation and collaboration for shared benefits. This reform should be advanced on the basis of equality, openness, transparency and inclusiveness. Developing countries should have more say and greater representation in this process. Disagreements should be resolved through consultation. Attempts to form exclusive blocs or impose one's will on others should be rejected. History has shown that confrontation, whether in the form of a cold war, a hot war or a trade war, will produce no winners. We believe that there exist no issues that countries cannot resolve through consultation as long as they handle these issues in a spirit of equality, mutual understanding and accommodation.

Ladies and gentlemen,


In 1978, China embarked on the great journey of reform and opening-up. Over the past 40 years, the Chinese people, with vision, hard work and perseverance, have forged ahead and taken a historic stride. We have stood up, become prosperous and grown in strength. We the Chinese nation are moving forward toward great rejuvenation.

-- Over the past 40 years, the Chinese people have blazed a new trail and made solid progress. With enterprise and grit and through self-reliance, we have turned China into the world's second biggest economy, making tremendous advances in our country's development and the improvement of people's lives. It is the relentless efforts of the Chinese people that have made China what it is today!

-- Over the past 40 years, the Chinese people have embraced the world with open arms. China has pursued its development through opening-up. As a result, China's import and export of goods have grown by 198 times and those of services by over 147 times. China has attracted more than US$2 trillion in foreign investment. It has become the world's biggest trader of goods, the biggest tourism market and a major trading partner with over 130 countries.

-- Over the past 40 years, the Chinese people have pursued development with a single focus and made lives better for ourselves. Guided by a people-centered development philosophy, between 1978 and 2017 China raised its per capita disposable income by 22.8 times, lifted 740 million people out of poverty and doubled the number of jobs created. We have achieved free compulsory primary and middle-school education nationwide and established the world's biggest social safety net. Thanks to these accomplishments, our people now feel more secure and have a greater sense of fulfillment and contentment.

-- Over the past 40 years, the Chinese people have pursued our own development to achieve development for all. China has stayed on the path of peaceful development, got actively involved in global economic governance, and actively supported other developing countries in their development. We have implemented responsible macroeconomic policies and contributed a significant share of global growth. We have played our part in responding to the Asian financial crisis and the global financial crisis. By so doing, China has contributed its vision and input to building a community with a shared future for mankind.

Five years ago, I announced the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), which aims to enhance connectivity among countries and regions, promote interconnected development, and create new space for global growth. This initiative has won wide international endorsement in the past five years. China has signed BRI cooperation documents with over 140 countries and international organizations, and a large number of cooperation projects have been launched under this Initiative.

Let me make this clear: the BRI is an open platform for cooperation. It is guided by the principle of consultation and collaboration for shared benefits. It is not designed to serve any hidden geopolitical agenda, it is not targeted against anyone and it does not exclude anyone. It is not an exclusive club that is closed to non-members, nor is it a "trap" as some people have labeled it. Rather, the BRI is a major and transparent initiative with which China shares opportunities and pursues common development with the rest of the world. In April next year, China will host the second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation in Beijing, and we welcome members of the Asia-Pacific business community to this event.

As we look back over the four decades of reform and opening-up, we in China are more convinced than ever before that only through reform and opening-up can China develop itself. Going forward, China will take an even more responsible approach, be even more open and inclusive, and strive to achieve even higher quality of growth. By doing so, as it develops itself, China will make greater contributions to the common prosperity of the world.

China will continue to significantly expand market access, strengthen IPR protection, and do more to increase imports. Since the beginning of this year, China has announced a host of new measures for further opening-up, which include the following: creating a more attractive investment and business environment, significantly lowering the tariffs for 1,449 consumer goods and 1,585 industrial goods, further cutting the tariffs for automobiles and auto parts to 13.8 percent and 6 percent respectively, and eliminating tariffs on all imported anti-cancer drugs. With a new round of tariff cuts coming into effect on 1 November, China's overall tariff rates have been reduced to 7.5 percent, lower than the majority of developing countries and beyond the commitment China made upon its accession to the WTO. China has released a new negative list on foreign investment, and will further open up finance, automobiles, aircraft, ships and other sectors. According to a recent World Bank report, China has moved up over 30 places in the ease of doing business ranking over the past year and is among the economies with the most significant improvement. China views all companies, both Chinese and foreign, as equals. China welcomes and encourages fair competition among them, and will fully protect their legitimate rights and interests.

A week ago, the first China International Import Expo (CIIE) was successfully held in Shanghai. It was attended by 172 countries, regions and international organizations, over 3,600 companies, and more than 400,000 Chinese and foreign buyers. Deals worth US$57.8 billion were sealed. The Hongqiao International Economic and Trade Forum, held as part of the Expo, attracted over 4,500 leading personalities from various sectors around the world. With such actual steps, China has demonstrated its commitment to trade liberalization and opening-up of its market. I wish to welcome you all to the second CIIE to be held next year. I am confident that the large market of China, with a population of close to 1.4 billion, will be a source of dynamic growth for the global economy.

Many of you present today have witnessed, contributed to and benefited from China's reform and opening-up, and have forged a special bond with China. The business community is an important force driving the economic development of the Asia-Pacific and the wider world. As entrepreneurs, you should bring out your best and ride the waves of economic globalization. I hope you will continue to share your insights with decision makers, encourage countries to adopt positive and practical policies and carry out extensive economic and technological cooperation. Together, we can open a new horizon for the common development and prosperity of the Asia-Pacific and the world at large.

Ladies and gentlemen,

Dear friends,

We APEC member economies are brought together by the Pacific Ocean. I was looking at the vast ocean when I boarded the ship, and it struck me that we are all indeed fellow passengers in the same boat. Let us keep the steering wheel steady and paddle in the right direction so that the ship of the global economy will brave winds, break waves and sail to a brighter future.

Thank you!


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