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Remarks at the Annual General Meeting of Danish-Chinese Business Forum (DCBF) by Ambassador Deng Ying

(From Chinese Embassy in Denmark)



Mr. Samuelsen, Minister for Foreign Affairs,
Mr. Hemmingsen, Chairman of DCBF,
Mr.Kjaer, CEO of AVK,
Mr. Pontoppidan, Secretary General of DCBF,
ladies and gentlemen,

Good afternoon! It is great pleasure for me to attend the annual meeting of DCBF in 2018. First of all, on behalf of the Chinese Embassy, I warmly congratulate on the opening of the annual conference of DCBF, and sincerely thank the association for its efforts in promoting China-Denmark economic and trade cooperation.

Like a bridge of cooperation, DCBF links Denmark and China. Most of the guests present today have close connections with China, witnessing and participating in the ever-expanding bilateral commercial exchanges, meanwhile benefiting from ever-maturing global trade. I have heard from some Danish friends that free trade is historical gene of Denmark as well as the country's secret of success for steady development in recent decades. Like what happened in Denmark, international economic and trade cooperation also played an important role in the process of China's reform and opening up over 40 years.

However, it is worrisome that the international trade order and the stability of global economy are threatened by trade protectionism. As President Xi Jinping pointed out last January in Davos, Pursuing protectionism is like locking oneself in a dark room. While wind and rain may be kept outside, that dark room will also block light and air. No one will emerge as a winner in a trade war. I believe that our guests are very concerned about the trade frictions between China and U.S.. Recently the U.S. government has introduced a number of protectionist measures which disordered the pace of global economic recovery. On the day the U.S. government announced the trade protectionist measures against China, the U.S. stock market evaporated more than one trillion dollars in value, slamming stock markets in Europe and Asia. On the issue of Sino-US trade frictions, China's attitude is clear. The frictions were provoked by U.S. side unilaterally. The nature of the friction is unilateralism challenging global multilateralism, as well as trade protectionism challenging world free trade. The US' approach has seriously violated the basic principles and spirit of the WTO. China does not cause the dispute, does not want to fight a trade war, but it is absolutely not afraid of that. We are confident and capable of meeting any challenge.

As a staunch force in maintaining international free trade, China is committed to developing long-term, sustainable and mutually-beneficial cooperation with all countries. Since accession into the WTO in 2001, the average level of China's tariff has dropped from 15.3% to 9.8%; the manufacturing access restrictions have been reduced by more than 50, the service sector has opened up nearly 120 departments in varying degrees. China is already the largest trade partner of 124 countries in the world and the top 3 export markets for 54 WTO members. The Nineteenth National Congress of the C.P.C proposed that China is striving to build a new pattern of all-round opening up and build a community of shared future for mankind. Facing the "headwinds" of trade protectionism, China and Denmark should stand shoulder to shoulder, hold high the banner of openness and cooperation, oppose the trade protectionism and safeguard the international trading system resolutely.

Hereby I sincerely hope the business communities of two countries will enhance consensus on three aspects which are confidence, ambition and perseverance.

First, we must have confidence in Chinese economy. In 2017, all main targets and tasks for China's economic and social development were accomplished and performance has exceeded expectations. China's GDP grew by 6.9% and personal income rose by 7.3%, both beating the previous year's growth rates. Around 13.51 million new urban jobs were created, and the unemployment rate was the lowest in recent years. The total import and export value rose by 14.2%. Inward foreign investment reached 136.3 billion US dollars, hitting a new all-time high. China's share in the global economy has grown to roughly 15%, and its contribution to global growth has exceeded 30%. In 2018, China's economic growth is expected to be around 6.5%. China will remain an important force in promoting global economic growth.

2018 marks the 40th anniversary of China's reform and opening up. Over the past four decades, China has been committed to opening up to the world and the realization of its leap-frog development. High-speed rail, e-commerce, a sharing economy are the best footnotes to China's development achievements. Looking ahead, China will not close its door to the world, it will only become more and more open. We live at a time with an overwhelming trend toward peace and cooperation, openness and connectivity, as well as reform and innovation. President Xi, in his keynote speech at the opening ceremony of Boao Forum Asia Annual Conference 2018, announced a series of important new measures to expand opening-up, promising to ease market access, improve investment environment, enhance IPR protection, and take the initiative to expand imports. In November this year, we will host the first China International Import Expo (CIIE) in Shanghai. It is a significant move for China to actively open its market. I hope more and more Danish enterprises could attend CIIE and benefit from it.

In addition, China is committed to implementing higher-level trade and investment liberalization and facilitation policies, significantly easing market access, expanding opening up of service sector, and protecting the legitimate rights and interests of foreign investors. China will work together with other countries to create new drivers of common development through the further implementation of the Belt and Road Initiative. We will speed up negotiations with partner countries on the conclusion of free trade agreements and investment treaties and endeavor to establish a global network of free trade areas. China will continue to make economic development more inclusive through handling properly the relations between self-interest and interests of other parties, sharing the development fruits with more people, enhancing the welfare of people all over the world to build a community with a shared future for mankind.

Second, we must have ambition to advance China-Denmark practical cooperation. 2018 marks also the 10th anniversary of the comprehensive strategic partnership between China and Denmark. In this decade, China and Denmark have seized the great opportunity for the development of bilateral relations. China-Denmark Joint Work program was signed and released by both governments, and the bilateral trade and investment volumes have jumped to a new level. According to Denmark's statistics, the trade volume in 2017 between China and Denmark reached a record high of $11.5 billion, and was over $10 billion for four consecutive years. China has been Denmark's largest trading partner in Asia for many years, and more and more Danish products with "innovation", "green" and "low carbon" labels are favored by Chinese consumers. Denmark has invested $4.85 billion in China at the end of last year, and China's investment in Denmark has grown rapidly, creating nearly 1,000 jobs in Denmark. Furthermore, Air China and Cathay Pacific Airways will open direct flights from Copenhagen to Beijing and Hong Kong respectively in May this year to further facilitate business travel and personal exchanges between the two sides. The City of Copenhagen would be the Guest City of Honor at Beijing Design Week, while the City of Aarhus would host the Second China-Denmark Regions and Cities Forum. All the way to the future, the two sides can plan and promote practical cooperation not only from bilateral angle, but also through the Belt and Road Initiative, China-Nordic cooperation, and China-EU cooperation, enriching the contents of China-Denmark Comprehensive Strategic Partnership and expanding the converging points of interests.

Third, we must have perseverance to promote China-Denmark economic and trade cooperation. The great achievements of China-Denmark economic and trade cooperation are closely related to the efforts of the two countries' business communities and the DCBF. After nine months in Denmark, I have been keenly aware of the positive role played by DCBF and its strong desire to strengthen cooperation with China. At the same time, I also realized that although China and Denmark are thousands of miles apart, the two sides have obvious complementary advantages in innovative ideas, green economy and high-end manufacturing, and the cooperation space is broad. In the future, the Chinese embassy is willing to continue to work with the Danish government, enterprises and DCBF to deepen consensus, mutual benefit and win-win progress and promote the common development and prosperity of the two countries' economic and social sectors.

Finally, I wish the annual meeting a complete success! Thank you!

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