The Honorable Prime Minister John Howard,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It gives me great pleasure to meet you here in this beautiful city of Sydney. The topic we are addressing today, namely, "Strengthening our Community: Building a Sustainable Future" is a highly important one as it concerns the development of all APEC members and indeed, the entire humanity.
The world economy is undergoing profound changes. Economic globalization is gaining momentum; rapid progress is being made in science and technology; and worldwide industrial relocation and flow of productive factors are picking up speed. All these offer us rare development opportunities. On the other hand, problems such as growing imbalances in the world economy, rising trade protectionism, mounting pressure on energy resources and the increasingly acute issue of climate change pose grave challenges to all countries and regions which are endeavoring to build a sustainable future. How can we build a sustainable future in the face of both opportunities and challenges? This is an issue that deserves close consideration. Here, I would like to offer my candid views on this issue.
First, to promote balanced world economic growth is an important basis for building a sustainable future. As economic globalization deepens, imbalances in the world economy have affected the rational allocation of global resources and aggravated the structural tensions in the world economy, thus posing the biggest potential danger to the sustained and stable growth of the world economy. We should take this issue seriously. All countries should, in keeping with their respective national conditions, expand domestic demand, reduce fiscal deficit, accelerate structural adjustment and deepen institutional reform. They should open market, enhance strategic dialogue and coordination on macroeconomic policies and work to make the international economic order more equitable so as to create conditions for ensuring balanced growth of the world economy and sustainable development in the future.
Second, to set up a sound multilateral trading regime is a primary guarantee for building a sustainable future. A fair, open, equitable and non-discriminatory multilateral trading regime contributes to the sustainable growth of the world economy and international trade and serves the interests of all. The WTO Doha Round negotiation is now at a crucial juncture. We must say no to trade protectionism, eliminate trade barriers and move the Doha Round negotiation towards a comprehensive and balanced outcome at an early date. The major developed members of the WTO should make due efforts for the successful conclusion of the negotiation by demonstrating more sincerity and taking the lead in showing more flexibility on key issues such as reducing agricultural subsidies and tariffs. All parties should work to ensure that the Doha Round will attain the goal of a development round and that developing members can truly benefit from it.
Third, to ensure stable energy supply is a major factor contributing to building a sustainable future. Sufficient, secure, economical, clean and predictable energy supply is essential to sustaining the steady growth of the world economy. The international community should pursue a new approach towards energy security that calls for mutually beneficial cooperation, diversified development and ensuring energy supply through coordination. We should work together to stabilize and improve the international energy market, curb speculative activities, step up scientific and technological R&D and exchanges to raise energy efficiency and develop new energies. An equitable technology transfer system should be established to help all countries, developing countries in particular, use energy in a more efficient, economical and convenient way.
Fourth, to maintain a sound natural environment is the key condition for building a sustainable future. Climate change has become an issue of global concern, and this fully shows that development and the environment are inextricably interconnected. Climate change is an environmental issue. But ultimately, it is a development issue. We should, within the context of sustainable development, uphold the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and its Kyoto Protocol as the core mechanism and main avenue of cooperation, follow the principle of "common but differentiated responsibilities" and tackle climate change proactively through extensive international cooperation. We should upgrade technologies, ensure that production and consumption meet the requirement of sustainable development, promote "green" growth, and develop circular economy to protect our home and the global environment.
Fifth, to advance science, technology and education is an important driving force for building a sustainable future. Ultimately, economic growth and a better life can only be achieved by acquiring knowledge and especially by making scientific and technological innovation. We should pursue scientific and technological innovation as a matter of strategic priority in carrying out international cooperation, expand and deepen such cooperation and make new progress in scientific and technological innovation. Human resources are the key to scientific and technological innovation and education provides the basis for it. We should increase input in education, enhance educational cooperation and intensify human resources training to provide strong human resources and intellectual support to all countries, especially developing countries, in their development and inject new vitality into world economic growth.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Since China adopted the policy of reform and opening up 29 years ago, its economy has maintained steady growth, with an average annual rate of over 9 percent. In the first half of this year, China's GDP increased by 11.5 percent; its total retail sales of consumer goods rose by 15.4 percent; total imports and exports by 23.3 percent and the net overseas direct investment grew by 12.2 percent. As has been shown, China's sound and steady economic growth has not only benefited its 1.3 billion people, but also offered enormous business opportunities to other countries and promoted the growth of the world economy.
On the other hand, we are keenly aware that China remains the largest developing country in the world with a huge population, weak economic foundation, uneven development and that its standard of living is still low. There are still some pressing institutional and structural problems which constrain China's economic development and need to be addressed. For instance, there is imbalance in international payments, pressure on resources and the environment is mounting, and there is an urgent need to conserve energy and cut pollutant discharge. We still need to make arduous effort to ensure that China's economy keeps steady and fairly fast growth.
The Chinese Government places high importance on sustainable development. It calls for following the scientific thinking on development that puts people first and promotes comprehensive, balanced and sustainable development. And it is working hard to achieve sound and fast economic and social development. China will continue to follow the path of a new type of industrialization that is science and technology-driven, cost-effective, resource efficient, causes less pollution to the environment and taps the full potentials of human resources. We will speed up readjusting the economic structure and changing the pattern of economic development. We will quicken the pace of developing a circular economy and building a resource efficient and environment friendly society. We will ensure that production and consumption meet the requirement of sustainable development, and we are working to promote the sustainability of the eco-system and socioeconomic system and advance comprehensive economic and social progress and all-round development of our people.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Since its accession to the WTO, China has honored its commitments in good faith. It has adjusted its trade policy in keeping with the WTO rules. In the five-year transitional period, China has drastically cut its average tariff, which has dropped from 15.3% upon accession to the present 9.9%. The level of openness of its service trade sector is approaching that of developed countries, and this has made China one of the most open service markets in the world. We will continue to implement a win-win opening up strategy and support the establishment of a fair, open, equitable and non-discriminatory multilateral trading regime. We are committed to pursuing development in an open environment and achieve common prosperity of all countries through mutually beneficial cooperation.
China takes an active part in regional economic cooperation and promotes trade and investment liberalization and facilitation in the Asia-Pacific region. China has concluded free trade agreements with ASEAN, Chile and Pakistan. It is now conducting free trade area negotiation with Australia, New Zealand and Singapore and feasibility studies with India and the Republic of Korea on free trade areas. We are ready to forge closer business ties with other APEC member economies and non-APEC countries and regions on the basis of equality and mutual benefit.
The growth of international trade has benefited all countries. China's enormous domestic demand and vast domestic market are driving its economic growth. China does not seek a large trade surplus. It will continue to transform the pattern of trade growth, increase import, and strengthen protection of intellectual property rights to ensure coordinated and balanced growth of import and export and contribute to the sustainable growth of global trade.
China takes the quality and safety of its export products very seriously and follows a highly responsible approach towards it. From product manufacturing to transportation and import and export, we are making every effort to ensure product quality and safety. And we are enhancing relevant legislation, law enforcement, supervision and regulation. China is willing to step up cooperation in product quality and safety with other parties and increase exchanges and consultation to improve product quality and safety in international trade.
China always takes a responsible position regarding climate change. The Chinese Government has formulated and released a national program on addressing climate change and has taken a series of steps, including enhancing energy efficiency, improving energy mix, strengthening environmental protection, slowing population growth and improving the legal framework. It has set the targets of bringing down energy consumption per unit of GDP by 20%, cutting the total discharge of major pollutants by 10% and increasing forest cover from 18.2% to 20% between the end of 2005 and 2010. China will increase exchanges and cooperation with other countries to jointly tackle global climate change.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Common development is what China pursues in taking part in Asia-Pacific cooperation. I am convinced that if we seize the opportunity, deepen cooperation and strengthen our community, we can certainly build a sustainable future for the Asia-Pacific region.
Thank you all.