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China and Canada:Partners Sharing Growth and Prosperity
Ambassador Luo Zhaohui's Speech at the Welcoming Luncheon Hosted by the Business Community of Canada
(2014/06/28)

Dear Premier Kathleen Wynne,

Brad Duguid, Minister of Economic Development, Employment and Infrastructure,

Michael Chen, Minister of Immigration and International Trade,

Mr. Hugh Mackinnon,Chairman of Bennett Jones,

Ladies and gentlemen, dear friends,

Good afternoon! I understand there is no free lunch in the world. So I hope what I am going to say next can pay your hospitality and kindness.

It is my privilege and pleasure to attend this luncheon with so many friends from the business community of Canada.

Premier Wynne is a prominant politician, I am a career diplomat. But the two of us have one particular thing in common.

That is, we both are ready to serve the business communities to deepen the economic cooperation between China and Canada.

I would like to take this opportunity to express my hearty thanks to Bennett Jones for hosting this event, and to all of you present here today, for what you have done to promote China-Canada economic and trade cooperation.

This is the first time for me as Chinese Ambassador to visit Ontario and the world-famous city of Toronto, which have very important places in China-Canada cooperation.

Ontario has the largest population and economy in Canada. Last year, the two-way trade between China and Ontario reached 32 billion Canadian dollars and accounts for half of Canada's total trade with China.

And Ontario's exchanges and cooperation with Jiangsu, its sister province in China, have become increasingly closer.

As Canada's economic and financial center, Toronto has very strong commercial links with China and the sister-city relationship with Chongqing, China's largest metropolitan with a population of the whole Canada is fruitful.

Besides, there are over 700 thousand Chinese Canadians in the greater Toronto area.

There are also many Chinese students studying here.

And it is a very popular destination for Chinese tourists.

Just a few days ago, a new direct line was launched between Shanghai and Toronto by China Eastern Airlines.

So this is exactly the right place to talk about our bilateral relations. Now, I would like to share with you some of my insights.

Firstly, the Chinese side is satisfied with the progress of our relations

In China, everyone has a friendly sentiment to Canada. And Chinese government has attached great importance to the relations with Canada.

Canada is one of the first western countries to establish diplomatic relations with the People's Republic of China.

In the 1930s, Canadian doctor Norman Bethune sacrificed his life in helping the Chinese people.

In the 1960s, by exporting wheat to China, Canada provided timely help to countless Chinese people.

In the early 1980s, when China just started to reform and open up, Canada again provided assistance to us, for the building of CANDU nuclear reactors and Three Gorges Dam.

We should not forget the history. We will never forget the kindness and friendship of the Canadian government and Canadian people.

I'm glad to see that, with our joint efforts in the past few years, China-Canada relations have maintained a very good momentum.

Our two-way trade reached nearly 55 billion US dollars. China has become Canada's second largest trading partner and export market.

China's investment in Canada has increased to almost 50 billion US dollars.

China has become Canada's largest source of international students, and the fastest growing tourist market.

The two way students have surpassed 100 thousand.

Last year, about 1.2 million people traveled between two countries.

The two sides have the same or similar positions on many multilateral issues such as United Nation affairs and climate change.

The exchanges and cooperation are mutually beneficial and win-win, and do good to the whole world.

Secondly, there is still great potential for our two countries to broaden concrete cooperation.

In the next 5 years, China's imports will reach 10 trillion US dollars.

We will invest 500 billion US dollars abroad.

And there will be more than 500 million Chinese people traveling around the world.

This will bring huge opportunities for the economic cooperation and people-to-people exchanges between our two countries.

The Chinese leader has invited Prime Minister Stephen Harper to visit China again in November when he attends this year's APEC summit in Beijing.

This will be his third trip to China. We are striving to make this visit a new milestone in the history of our bilateral relations.

In the past over 40 days since I arrived in Canada, I have paid courtesy calls on Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Minister of Foreign Affairs John Baird, Minister of Agriculture Gerry Ritz, and other Canadian officials.

I proposed five suggestions on how to make Prime Minister Harper's upcoming visit to China a success.

A) Trade. We should launch a Working Group to kick off the feasibility study for a bilateral Free Trade Agreement.

In my meetings with Canadian ministers, I told them that to promote the export of Canadian specialties such as beef and blueberry is ok, but not enough.

The governments of our two countries should make the policy environment for the bilateral economic cooperation more friendly and flexible.

The scale of our bilateral trade, although growing fast in the past few years, is only a very small piece of cake when compared to China's total foreign trade, and Canada's as well.

But even this small piece of cake still makes China the second largest trading partner of Canada.

That really shows something.

B) Investment. We should do something to promote the two-way investment.

I hope the Canadian side can ratify Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement signed two years ago as soon as possible.

This is the obligation of the Canadian side.

By doing that, we can together send positive signals to the business communities of our two countries.

C) Energy. We can announce the building of a "maritime energy corridor" between China and Canada.

Chinese investors have already benefited a lot from Canada's open energy market, and also made important contribution to the development of Canada's energy industry.

So why don't we go even further in our cooperation in this sector?

By proposing the idea of "maritime energy corridor", I mean we can pick a new hat and combine our energy cooperation in exploitation, infrastructure building, transportation and other areas under this hat.

Sometimes, a good concept is very important.

Last week, the Canadian federal government approved the Northern Gateway Pipeline project, and this was undoubtedly good news to our energy cooperation.

Some Chinese oil companies have already shown interest in this project.

Apparently there is a lot more we can do to deepen cooperation in the energy sector, where we are highly complementary to each other.

D) Finance. We should create a more convenient financial environment.

China is positive toward signing a bilateral currency swap arrangement with Canada, and setting up the offshore center for RMB transactions in Canada.

I have discussed these two issues with relevant Canadian officials.

The closer our bilateral trade and economic cooperation grows, the more necessary our financial cooperation becomes.

I hope we can seal the deal during Prime Miniver Harper's visit to China.

E) We should make our bilateral cooperation more comprehensive, not just focusing on economic area or energy.

I was Chinese Ambassador to Pakistan a few years ago.

China's relationship with Pakistan is very good. There isn't any political problem between the two countries.

And the cooperation between the two countries is based on many concrete projects in different areas.

Unlike some Western countries, Canada has no serious political problem with China.

The smoothness of political relations has laid a good foundation for deepening comprehensive cooperation.

So why not do more to broaden our cooperation?

Our two sides have already cooperated on building CANDU nuclear reactor in China.

We should have more successful cooperation projects in the future.

For example, China is implementing the innovation-driven strategy, and developing strategic emerging industries such as clean energy, environmental protection, information technology, high-end manufacturing.

Canada boasts strong innovation ability in these fields.

The combination of Canada's strength in innovation and China's well-established manufacturing industry, abundant technical workers as well as vast market will bring huge economic and social benefits to our two countries.

Yesterday I was told by Consul General Fang li that Western Ontario University has already established three technology transfer centers in Nanjing, Tianjin, and Hongkong, which are very successful.

We should also enhance people-to-people exchanges in areas such as culture, education, and tourism.

This will help us to build a better social environment for bilateral cooperation.

Thirdly, China's continuous development will provide more opportunities for the world, including Canada.

We, Chinese people are talking of the Chinese Dream and care most about the economic development, about making more money and living a better life.

After more than 30 years of reform and opening-up, we have laid a relatively strong material foundation for the realization of the Chinese Dream.

Now China is the second largest economy of the world. China's GDP has reached more than 9 trillion US dollars.

The imports and exports totaled over 4 trillion US dollars. And the foreign exchange reserves stood at nearly 4 trillion US dollars.

A dynamic China means vast market, trade, employment and economic growth to Canada.

In the past few years, China's economy has entered into a period of mid-to-high speed development after three decades of double digit growth.

This is line with the regular development pattern of an economy.

And it is also a result of the macro-control by the Chinese government to create conditions and room for transforming the mode of development for a healthier growth.

Besides, we only need an annual growth rate of 7% to double the GDP by 2020 on the basis of 2010, a goal set two years ago.

This year, we set the growth target at around 7.5%.

Because we need to expand the economy at that speed to create 10 million jobs.

And we need to build confidence in the market, and stabilize the expectation at home and abroad.

We are optimistic about meeting this target and keeping the economy growing at a fairly fast speed for many years to come.

The urbanization and industrialization will inject strong vitality into China's economic growth.

Last year, China's urbanization rate had just hit 54%.

Between now and 2020, we need to help 300 million people settle down, find jobs and live a decent life in urban areas. This will release huge domestic demand, and this is where the greatest potential of the China's economic growth lies.

China has established the Central Leading Group on Comprehensively Deepening Reform, which is headed by President Xi Jinping, to supervise the new round of reform and opening up.

We have set up the China(Shanghai) Pilot Free Trade Zone.

A management model of pre-establishment national treatment with a negative list has been introduced in this zone. We hope useful experience can be copied to other regions of China.

On the other hand, China still faces difficulties and challenges on the way ahead, such as resource and energy bottleneck, pollution, and big gaps between urban and rural areas and between different regions.

According to the standard of the World Bank, more than 200 million Chinese people are still living under the poverty line.

We have to work hard for a long time to make all the 1.3 billion Chinese people have a good life.

Therefore, to pursue peaceful development is the logical and rational choice of China's foreign policy, definitely not flexing muscles as someone misinterprets or misunderstands.

You may have noted the maritime disputes between China and some neighboring countries recently.

The disputes are left over from history, are quite complicated, and not easy to resolve within one day.

Maritime disputes exist not only between China and its neighboring countries concerned, but also among the neighboring countries themselves. In South China Sea, five countries have claimed sovereign rights.

Our position is clear. Demarcating maritime boundary when conditions mature, before that, setting up Confidence Building Measures and deepening cooperation.

What concern Asian countries most are development and cooperation. This is the mainstream.

For example,countries in this region are talking heatedly about two words.One is connectivity. The other is FTA.

China has been playing a leading role in these two issues.

China and the relevant countries in the region are building the Bangladesh-China-India-Myanmar Economic Corridor and the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor.

Last year, the Chinese leaders put forward the concepts of building "One Belt and One Road", that is, " the Silk Road Economic Belt" and "the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road".

Our goal is to link the sub-regions of Asia, such as Central Asia, South Asia, Southeast Asia and West Asia.

The Belt and Road can even be extended to Europe and North America and link Asia with the rest of the world.

In Asia, FTA negotiations are going on between or among different countries and in deferent levels. They have drawn widespread attention.

China's negotiations with South Korea and with Australia are expected to conclude this year.

The negotiations among China, Japan and South Korea are also going well.

China and ASEAN are upgrading the Free Trade Zone to a new version.

Furthermore, 16 countries, including the ten ASEAN members, China, Japan, South Korea, India ,Australia and New Zealand, are negotiating the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement(RCEP).

In the mean time, the APEC members are brewing the launch of the feasibility study of Free Trade Area of the Asia Pacific(FTAAP).

Speaking responsibly, development and cooperation are the fundamental interests and biggest expectations of Asian countries.

And development and cooperation can only be realized in peace and stability.

I am quite sure the regional countries have the vision and wisdom to manage and control the situation and make the situation calming down.

Canada has the longest coastline in the world. China is willing to share the good experience and practice of Canada in managing maritime issues.

Dear friends,

Since arriving in Canada, I have been keeping on meeting with people from different sectors.

I would be friend with more people.

I would learn more about Canada.

I would brief more about China to my Canadian friends.

And I would find more opportunities for the development of our bilateral relations.

I am ready, ready to work together with the Canadian business community and the federal and provincial government and all of you, to promote our bilateral cooperation to a new high.

Thank you all.