The Hon. Noel Kinsella, Speaker of the Senate,
The Hon. Andrew Scheer, Speaker of the House of Commons,
The Hon. Gerry Ritz, Minister for Agriculture and Agri-food,
The Hon. Alice Wong, Minister of State for Seniors,
Mr. Simon Kennedy, Deputy Minister for Trade
Mr. Bob Hamilton, Deputy Minister for Natural Resources
Ms. Susan Gregson, Assistant Foreign Minister
Members of Parliament,
ladies and gentlemen,
What a lovely day! My wife and I are so honoured to host today's function and we are so happy to welcome all of you here to join us celebrating China's 65th National Day.
This is the first outdoor reception in my Embassy, so we can enjoy fresh air, white clouds, sunshine and breeze. We can see green trees with colorful leafs, and the Rideau river flowing quietly by our side. Of course later, we will enjoy Chinese performance and Chinese food.
In such a beautiful autumn's day, I'd like to begin by sharing a Chinese story.
Alibaba, a Chinese Internet company, completed its IPO(initial public offering)at New York Stock Exchange last Friday. With 25 billion US dollars financed, the IPO is the largest in scale in the world ever, and made Alibaba the world's second-largest Internet company next only to Google.
Founded by Mr. Jack Ma, a high school teacher in China 15 years ago at his small apartment, today Alibaba has become the largest business to business (B2B) and business to customer (B2C) platforms in the world serving over 8.5 million small-and-medium sized companies doing business online.
The Alibaba story shows China's booming economy and bright future, shows a rising China benefiting the world, and also shows international business communities deeply integrated into China's economic development.
Alibaba's growth captures China's development in miniature. Today China is the world's second largest economy and the largest trading nation. Last year, China's GDP reached 9.3 trillion US dollars. Its imports and exports totaled over 4 trillion US dollars. And the foreign exchange reserves stood at 4 trillion US dollars. China is also the third largest investor in the world with nearly 100 billion US dollars of outbound investment every year. In the first half of this year, China's GDP grew by 7.4%, still taking the lead of major economies.
However, we have clear understanding of China's national conditions. The per capita GDP of China has just reached 6800 US dollars, ranking around 80th in the world. How much is that in Canada? You have per capita GDP over 52 thousand US dollars. It is a very huge gap. According to World Bank's standard of 1.25 US dollars per day, there are still 200 million Chinese people living under poverty line in my country. We also face a lot of problems such as developing gap between urban and rural areas, between western and eastern regions.
In this context, the Chinese Government has been actively carrying out the comprehensively deepening reforms, to inject more vitality into China's economy and society.
One major reform is streamlining administration and delegating more power to lower-level governments, and reforming the administrative review and approval system. Since last year, Government departments have removed or delegated to lower levels administrative approval on over 600 items. And this year, the business registration reform, among others, has been carried out nationwide. This has lowered the threshold for starting businesses and removed restrictions on them, thus giving a great boost to business development in the whole country. Between January and August, the amount of newly registered market entities was more than eight million.
We have full confidence in China's development prospects. China's economy will never be a "hard landing", and we are confident to achieve the goal of doubling our GDP and per capita income in 2020 on the basis of 2010.
China's development would not be achieved without the world. At the same time, China's development also benefits the world including Canada. It is projected that in the coming five years, China's imports will reach 10-trillion US dollars, its outbound investment will reach 500-billion US dollars, and the number of its outbound tourists may exceed 500 million. Canada should also seize the opportunity.
Canada is among the first western countries to establish diplomatic ties with the People's Republic of China. Dr. Norman Bethune, who sacrificed his life in helping the Chinese people in the 1930s, has been a household name in China.
In the 1960s, by exporting wheat to China, Canada provided timely help to countless Chinese people. All these contribute to the friendship between Chinese people and Canadian people.
China-Canada relations have achieved sound development in the past 44 years. Last year, our two-way trade volume reached nearly 55 billion US dollars, while it was only 150 million US dollars in 1970. China's investment in Canada has increased from almost zero to around 50 billion US dollars. The FIPA,just ratified by Canada government,that strongly boosts the two-way investment and trade, will come into force on October 1st which is coincidentally the Chinese National Day. Moreover, 1.2 million people travelled between our two countries last year, which means more than 3,000 people travel across the Pacific Ocean every day, much more than the total number of travelers between China and Canada in an entire year in the early 1970s.
Currently, the two sides are preparing Prime Minister Harper's visit to China in November when he attends this year's APEC Summit in Beijing. We are striving to make this visit fruitful and a new milestone of our bilateral history. We are talking about possibility of free trade agreement, financial area cooperation and the RMB transaction center in Canada. We are also talking about agriculture cooperation along with Mr. Ritz. He's been to China twice this year, not only for attending the APEC meeting but also promoting bilateral relations. He's done a great job, and we have great potential in agricultural cooperation. We also have a lot of work to do in education and culture.
Last month, I had the honor to attend the 55th Annual Premiers' Conference in Prince Edward Island. The Premiers are highly expecting their joint visit to China in October. They all wish to take this opportunity to enhance the cooperation between China and their provinces. I have been to Nova Scotia a few weeks ago. I was deeply impressed by the significant growth of lobsters export to China as well as seaports and offshore energy cooperation.
We are quite confident in our future cooperation. We wish that the globalization could make the Pacific ocean a small river to across quite conveniently to enhance more cooperation. The speaker of the Senate told me a lot about that, and I really appreciate it. As China and Canada are great nations, we have common views toward many issues. But sometimes we have different opinions, even problems between us. Let's make joint efforts to focus on our cooperation, and also focus on solving problems, to promote bilateral relations to a new high.
Ladies and gentlemen,
To know where you're going, you have to know where you have been.
Historically a Catholic monastery, the chancery of the Chinese Embassy is also part of the history of Ottawa.
In 1866, Mother Marie of the Order of Our Lady of Charity moved in town and built a temporary monastery right here.
In 1875, Mother Marie built a spacious monastery at the original site. The architect was M.J. Bowes, who had designed Canadian Parliament.
Unfortunately, in 1938, a fire damaged the roof and interior of the monastery, while the external walls survived. In 1941, the building was rebuilt.
In 1972, the Chinese Embassy bought the monastery and moved into this historic building. Since then, this historic building has been well maintained by the Chinese Embassy. Today it still remains its original architectural style.
The building is a part of history of Canada, and also a part of history of China-Canada relations. It has witnessed the progress of bilateral relations for the past 44 years. We will certainly continue to take care of this great building with Canadian people. I just met vice chairman of Ottawa Heritage and we briefly discussed how to cooperate in the future to protect the building. We respect your history, respect your freedom of religion.
On this note, let me conclude my speech by proposing a toast,
To China's 65th Birthday!
To the prosperity of Canada and happiness of Canadian people!
To the good health of all our distinguished guests!