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Speech by Ambassador Li Ruiyu at the Annual Meeting of the Danish-Chinese Business Forum

March 13, 2013

His Royal Highness the Prince Consort,

Your Excellency Minister Vestager,

Mr. Chairman Christensen,

Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,

It is a great pleasure for me to be invited to today's Annual Meeting of the Danish-Chinese Business Forum, and I am delighted that you have chosen to hold this meeting at the time of China's "liang hui", the two plenary sessions of the National People's Congress and the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, which have also been widely covered by the Danish media. I believe all of you present today are following this important event as well. I have carefully read through the transcript of Premier Wen's report on the Work of the Government, and I would like to take this opportunity to share with you some of my understandings and observations.

In his report, Premier Wen gave a comprehensive review of government's work in the past five years. May I say that those five years were truly an extraordinary period in the cause of China's development, as we kept on countering the serious impact of the global financial crisis.

-- We managed to maintain a steady and robust economic development, with an average annual GDP growth of 9.3%. Last year, our GDP reached 51.9 trillion RMB yuan, ranking second in the world.

-- The quality and performance of our economic development got improved. Energy consumption per unit of GDP fell by 17.2%. The contribution of domestic demand to economic growth increased significantly, and the share of current account surplus in the GDP dropped from 10.1% to 2.6%.

-- The government made great efforts to ensure and improve people's wellbeing. A total of 58.7 million urban jobs were created, comprehensive progress was made in the social security system, and more than 1.3 billion people are now covered by various medical insurance schemes.

-- The ability to sustain economic and social development was boosted by the strategy of making China strong through science and education. Government spending on education accounted for 4% of GDP in 2012. The spending on science and technology over the past five years enjoyed an average annual increase of over 18%, and over 74% of China's R&D spending was made by companies.

-- China's open economy also reached a new level. Our total import and export volume grew by an annual average of 12.2%, and now we are the largest exporter in the world. Besides, we utilized 552.8 billion US dollars of foreign investment, and our non-financial overseas direct investment grew annually by an average rate of 25.5%.

These statistics can show that in the face of risks and challenges brought about by the global financial crisis, the policies and measures taken by the Chinese government proved to be effective. Although unbalanced, uncoordinated and unsustainable development still remains a prominent problem for us today, and the global economic situation is still very complicated, we have confidence in China's future development, thanks to the solid material foundation as well as experiences accumulated through years of development.

For this year's work, some suggestions were made in Premier Wen's report. In fact, not only for this year but for quite some years to come, the main direction of China's economic and social development is laid clear, and last year's 18th National Party Congress already set out a blueprint. Hereby, I would like to focus on four points, from which I believe you can see the important opportunities and broad prospects for China-Denmark relations.

First, China will continue to vigorously promote the change of economic growth model, accelerate industrial restructuring, and implement the strategy of innovation-driven development. We will continue to promote the sound development of strategic emerging industries including clean energy, energy conservation, environmental protection, next-generation information and communication technology, biomedicines, and high-end equipment manufacturing. We will promote green, circular, and low-carbon development, and further expand the service sector. The growth target for this year is 7.5%, to better coordinate development.

Second, China will actively yet prudently promote urbanization. This is where the potential lies for expanding domestic demand, and it is a significant part of China's modernization drive ahead. We will improve the quality of urbanization, strengthen urban infrastructure, make urban development well coordinated with resources and environment, and provide better public services. As it is the first time in human history to see a modernization of 1.3 billion people and an urbanization of 1 billion, an orderly and healthy development of China's urbanization will not only benefit the Chinese people, but also contribute to the world at large.

Third, greater importance will be attached to people's wellbeing and social development will be strengthened. We will continue to improve the social security system, deepen the reform of medical and healthcare services, and step up efforts to solve problems of great concern to our people such as food and drug safety, housing, and environment.

Fourth, China will further deepen reform and opening up, improve the socialist market economy and implement a more proactive strategy of opening up. We will both keep exports stable and expand imports. We will both use foreign investment and make Chinese investment overseas. And we will further open both coastal as well as inland and border areas. We will strive to expand and deepen common interests with all countries in the world.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Thanks to the joint efforts of both sides, 2012 became a year of harvest for China-Denmark relations. This year marks the fifth anniversary of the comprehensive strategic partnership between our two countries. I believe and hold great expectations that both sides will seize the opportunity and work together for new positive progress in bilateral exchanges and cooperation at various fronts.

My Danish colleagues told me that in this spring alone there will be five cabinet ministers visiting China. This is a very good and encouraging start. I look forward to more frequent high-level and political exchanges this year to further enhance mutual understanding and trust, and to strengthen top-level design for pragmatic cooperation.

China and Denmark jointly can do a lot in two-way trade and investment, new energy, green development, science, technology and innovation, sustainable urbanization, agriculture, food, medicine and services for the old-aged. I look forward to more active engagement of enterprises, local governments and relevant agencies from both sides to further boost cooperation. Our government encourages capable Chinese enterprises to come to Denmark and will help as much as we can to facilitate their knowledge of the Danish market by providing necessary information and consultancy. We also welcome more Danish enterprises, including small and medium-sized enterprises to the Chinese market. I believe that with their strong innovation capacity and niche technologies, chances are very good that many Danish SMEs can win business opportunities in the Chinese market.

I also look forward to closer people-to-people and cultural exchanges between our two countries, as I believe direct people-to-people contact is all the more important at this information age, and cooperation established on mutual understanding will be more solid-based and can last longer.

Over the years, the Danish-Chinese Business Forum has done a great deal of work that contributes to closer bilateral exchanges and cooperation. I highly appreciate it and I sincerely hope that the Forum will continue to grow with more and more people of insight actively promoting China-Denmark relations.

To conclude, I wish this Annual Meeting a full success.

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