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Chinese Ambassador to Canada Cong Peiwu Publishes a Byline Article Titled China's Economy Rebounds with Sound Momentum on The Hill Times

(From Chinese Embassy in Canada)

2024-01-30 20:54

On January 29, The Hill Times published a byline article titled China's Economy Rebounds with Sound Momentum by the Chinese Ambassador to Canada, H. E. CONG Peiwu. Here is the full text:

As the world's second-largest economy and a crucial engine of global economic growth, China has been the focus of attention for Canada and the international community. Over the past year, there have been assertions in some Western countries suggesting that the Chinese economic engine has failed. However, such arguments are debunked under the impressive figures from China's recently released economic data for 2023.

China's Economy is Moving forward Steadily

In 2023, China's economy witnessed momentum of recovery. The gross domestic product (GDP) was up by 5.2 percent over the previous year at constant prices, not only higher than the around 5 percent target set at the beginning of 2023, but also one of the highest among the major economies in the world. China's contribution to global growth in 2023 is expected to exceed 30 percent, remaining the biggest engine of global growth. In 2023, the total retail sales of consumer goods went up by 7.2 percent over the previous year, and the investment in fixed assets increased by 3.0 percent. Consumer price grew mildly. The consumer price index (CPI) went up by 0.2 percent. Core CPI excluding the prices of food and energy went up by 0.7 percent.

Solid progress has been made in China's high-quality development. Nationwide spending on R&D exceeded 3.3 trillion yuan, with the figure reaching 2.64 percent of GDP. The added value of the services sector accounted for 54.6 percent of the total GDP, contributing to about 60 percent of overall growth. Investment in manufacturing enterprises' equipment upgrades and technology transformations went up by 3.8 percent. Investments in high-tech industries grew by 10.3 percent, faster than fixed assessment investments. The number of foreign trade enterprises with actual performance exceeded 600,000 for the first time. Exports of the "new three", namely electric passenger vehicles, lithium-ion batteries and solar cells, surpassed one trillion yuan in 2023, posting a year-on-year increase of 29.9 percent.

China's economy grew steadily last year, with increases in GDP in both year-on-year and month-on-month terms in every quarter of the year, showing good momentum. Numbers of indicators such as electricity generation and consumption, production of major industrial products, investments, imports and exports far exceeded that of 2019. China's economy boasts a resilient industrial base. The added value of China's manufacturing industry accounts for around 30 percent of the global total, ranking first in the world for 14 consecutive years. China has abundant production factors. China now ranks first in the world in terms of the size of talent pool, human resources in science and technology and the total number of researchers. China's global share of annual capital formation has risen to about 30 percent, showcasing its capital abundance. The international community is optimistic about the growth prospect for China's economy in 2024. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) have revised China's GDP growth rate projections upward by 0.4 and 0.1 percentage points respectively.

China is Accelerating the Pace to Unleash the Potential of its Market

China has a supersize market. China has a total population of over 1.4 billion. There are now over 400 million people in the middle-income bracket, and the number is expected to reach 800 million in the next decade or so, which is larger than the population of Europe. For a growing range of products and services, the focus of consumer demand is shifting from quantity to quality, which will generate a strong driving force for upgrading consumption.

China's market has enormous potential. China's urbanization rate was 66.16 percent in 2023. Compared to around 80 percent in developed economies, there is still room for improvement of over ten percentage points. Some 300 million rural migrants are acquiring permanent urban residency at a faster pace. These will create massive demand for housing, education, medical services and elderly care. China is deepening its transition toward green and low-carbon growth. Over half of the world's new energy vehicles (NEVs) run on roads in China. China contributes one-fourth of the increased area of afforestation in the world. China is also cultivating large-scale new growth drivers in sectors such as green infrastructure, green energy, green transportation and green lifestyle. This will generate investment and consumption markets with an estimated size of 10 trillion yuan annually.

The world needs an open Chinese market. Insufficient demand is one of the primary global issues, and the market stands as the scarcest resource. By developing itself through opening up, China benefits the world and continues to create favourable conditions for countries worldwide, including Canada, to share the opportunities it offers. In the past five years, the return on foreign direct investment in China stands at around nine percent, which is quite competitive globally. In 2023, China's massive market advantage continued to manifest, with domestic demand driving import growth, resulting in a year-on-year increase of 5 percent for agricultural products, 1.2 percent for consumer goods, and 27.2 percent for energy products. From January to November, the number of new foreign-invested firms in China increased by 36.2 percent year-on-year, demonstrating that more and more international companies are enjoying the benefits of China's opening up.

From January to November of the previous year, Canada's exports to China grew by 6.6 percent year-on-year, making China the only growing market among Canada's major export destinations. Canada's exports of canola seeds, wheat, iron and copper ore, and seafood to China experienced rapid growth. For the first three quarters of 2023, Lululemon Athletica's revenue in China increased by 79 percent, 61 percent, and 53 percent year-on-year, surpassing its growth rates in North America and other regions by a significant margin. Tim Hortons saw a nearly 43 percent year-on-year increase in revenue in China during the third quarter. The Pavilion of Canada on JD Worldwide witnessed a more than fourfold increase in monthly sales over the past nine months. This ample evidence proves the solid economic complementarity between China and Canada. The robust vitality and immense potential of the Chinese market provide Canadian enterprises with development opportunities and substantial returns.

China Calls For a Universally Beneficial and Inclusive Economic Globalization

In the face of the significant challenges confronting the world today, we advocate for an equal and orderly multi-polar world and a universally beneficial and inclusive economic globalization. Both China and Canada are practitioners of multilateralism. As influential countries in the Asia-Pacific region, both countries are members of crucial multilateral mechanisms such as the World Trade Organization, the G20, and the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, with broad consensus and extensive cooperation space in upholding multilateralism, promoting free trade, and addressing climate change. Both China and Canada benefit from economic globalization. We hope that Canada will work with China in the same direction, build stronger economic growth together on the basis of mutual respect, more effectively address various challenges, and actively seize new opportunities, to deliver more benefits to the two peoples and the international community.

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