Edited excerpts from a speech by the Chinese ambassador to India, Le Yucheng, at a roundtable discussion on Apec in New Delhi on November 4.
Apec is the largest, highest-ranking and most influential economic cooperation mechanism in the Asia-Pacific region. It is of great strategic significance in the world with 21 members, 40 per cent of the world’s population, 57 per cent of the total world economy and 46 per cent of the total global trade. Celebrating its 25th anniversary, the theme of 2014 Apec is “Shaping the future through Asia-Pacific partnership”.
Never before had the cooperation in Asia-Pacific been so full of hope and opportunities. Yet, never before have we had to deal with so many risks and challenges.
This year’s Apec meeting will focus on three priorities. One, advancing regional economic integration. Important items under this priority include promoting Asia-Pacific free trade area, supporting the multilateral trading system, advancing cooperation on global value chains and supply chains and strengthening capacity-building in trade and investment.
Two, promoting innovative development, economic reform and growth. The objective is to promote pragmatic cooperation around “the five pillars” of economic reform, new economy, innovative growth, inclusive support and urbanisation in order to leap over “the middle-income trap”, to bring green development and innovative growth, to build a blue economy and an internet economy, and to achieve urbanisation. Three, strengthening comprehensive connectivity and infrastructure development. Connectivity has three pillars: first, physical or hard connectivity, which includes transport, telecommunications, ICT and energy infrastructure; second, institutional or soft connectivity, which includes customs, supply chain, financial and regulatory coherence, structural reform, etc; third, people-to-people connectivity, which includes business mobility, labour and professional mobility, tourism facilitation, and transnational education. This year we have the mandate to develop the blueprint, which will address the achievements and challenges of connectivity in this region, as well as the key initiatives for enhanced Apec connectivity and strategies for implementation.
Asia-Pacific is the region where our home is. As a member of the Asia-Pacific big family, China sees the prosperity of the entire region as the foundation of its own wellbeing. I’d like to share with all of you our ideas about the common development in four key words all starting with the letter C, “the four Cs”.
The first word is “creative”. China’s reform and opening up over the past 30 years is a textbook example of creative thinking and large-scale innovation. Recently, Alibaba’s IPO success has become a household story. Alibaba might be the star at the moment, yet it is just one in the Milky Way of Chinese private enterprises that have made great achievements over many years. Other Chinese companies such as Huawei and ZTE have embraced competition at home and abroad and emerged as industry leaders.
The second word is “conducive”. Since its formation, the new Chinese government has introduced reforms to simplify the administrative approval system so as to lower the threshold for starting businesses and remove restrictions on them. Within the next two years, per capita GDP in one-third of the provinces in China will exceed $10,000. In the next seven years, China is expected to import goods worth more than $17 trillion, and the amount of outward Chinese foreign direct investment is expected to reach $1.2 trillion. By 2020, 600 million Chinese people would be earning middle-level-income, which will create an attractive “world market”.
The third word is “contributive”. The IMF stated that the proportion of China’s contribution to the world economy has reached 30 per cent, and for each percentage point the Chinese economy grows, the economy of Asia as a whole expands by 0.3 percent.
The fourth word is “cooperative”. China has always been committed to promoting Asia-Pacific development through its own development, and providing new opportunities for regional prosperity through its own reforms and opening up. Infrastructure connectivity is a basic condition for integrated development. China is promoting the Bangladesh-China-India-Myanmar (BCIM) Economic Corridor, the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road in order to achieve regional policy communication, connect roads, smoothen trade, encourage currency circulation and link the hearts of people. India and 20 other prospective founding members of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank signed the MoU in Beijing on October 24. The AIIB complements existing mechanisms instead of replacing them.
Our discussion would be incomplete without further deliberation on the cooperation between China and India.
President Xi Jinping concluded his historic and very successful state visit to India [in September]. During the visit, President Xi Jinping and Prime Minister Narendra Modi reached broad consensus on bilateral ties. It was emphasised that China and India should become closer partners for development, cooperative partners for growth and global partners for strategic coordination; the two countries should jointly pursue our respective dreams of national renewal; and jointly achieve peaceful, cooperative and inclusive development. Now the two sides are stepping up efforts to implement the outcome of this visit.
According to the China-India economic and trade cooperation programme, China will invest $20 billion in India in the next five years in various industrial and infrastructure development projects. The Indian people will soon benefit from more high-quality and reasonably priced goods made by Chinese manufacturers in India; enjoy 24×7 power supply with support from Chinese power enterprises; and hopefully experience more convenient and comfortable high-speed railway service. China’s investment will create jobs for thousands of Indians. Huawei, a Chinese IT company, alone has already created more than 5,000 jobs in India. Its R&D centre with 2000-plus posts will soon begin operations in Bangalore. Meanwhile, Indian pharmaceutical, agricultural and IT products will find greater access to the Chinese market.
People with real-life experience understand fully that neighbours may sometimes encounter problems and there are always ways to solve them. Of course the boundary question, which is a leftover from Western colonialists, needs a solution. I earnestly believe that both sides have the ability and wisdom to reach a fair, reasonable and mutually acceptable solution through peaceful and friendly consultation to prevent the boundary question from affecting overall bilateral relations.
As members of the BRICS and as emerging economies, China and India are two major forces in the process of the formation of a multi-polar world.
Let’s draw wisdom from our great ancient civilisations and our visionary leaders, show sufficient foresight to promote the China-India strategic cooperative partnership and closely link our development strategy.