Keynote Speech by Minister Xu Xueyuan at the Dinner of China-Utah Trade and Investment Forum


May 11, 2019, Utah, USA

Honorable President Adams,

Distinguished Guests,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Good Evening!

It is my great pleasure to be with you tonight. Yesterday, my colleagues and I were honored to attend the Spike 150 celebrations where we commemorated the history of the China-Utah relationship and looked ahead to a future where this relationship continues to flourish. This afternoon, we saw a successful gathering at the China-Utah Trade and Investment Forum. Government officials and business leaders from both sides of the Pacific had a productive dialogue on how to deepen our practical cooperation in trade and investment. In this visit, my colleagues and I have been impressed by the passion demonstrated by the people of Utah for greater exchanges and cooperation with China. We have been touched by your friendship. Moreover, we’ll leave here with stronger confidence in the China-U.S. relationship.

Our confidence comes from the huge achievements produced by our bilateral relationship. This year marks the 40th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and the United States. Over the past 40 years, this relationship has experienced important and historic developments, as well as some twists and turns. China and the U.S. have become each other’s largest trading partners and major sources of foreign investment. This contributes significantly to the economic growth and improvement of people’s lives in both of our countries. Last year, our two-way trade exceeded US$630 billion and the two-way investment exceeded more than US$240 billion. Thanks to the China-U.S. trade relationship, every American household saves over US$850 per year on average, and statistics from the U.S.-China Business Council show that in 2017, exports to China supported one million American jobs.

Our two countries have also worked in close collaboration on a host of major international and regional issues. Together, we have worked to meet global challenges, and have become each other’s indispensable partners. We enjoy far more common interests than differences and far greater cooperation than frictions. The interests of our two countries are so deeply intertwined that neither country can do without the other.

Our confidence comes from the prospects of further economic and trade cooperation between our two countries. At present, the American economy is doing well and the Chinese economy is steadily growing. There is huge potential for further cooperation between our two countries. The United States is home to the world’s best products and services. It offers a mature market and advanced managerial expertise, and it boasts enterprises that enjoy remarkable global competitiveness.

The Chinese economy is experiencing a transition from high-speed growth to high-quality development. China has the world’s largest and fastest-growing middle class, which generates a huge demand for premium and competitive products. Consumption has become the top engine of economic growth for six consecutive years. China is opening up its market wider to the outside world, as evidenced by a number of measures taken in this regard, including: lowered tariffs, increased market access, improved trade facilitation, and enhanced IPR protection. Our goal is to provide a steady and more transparent and regulated environment for foreign businesses. The Chinese enterprises’ awareness and capability to go global continues to grow. Many competent Chinese companies, including private firms, have invested overseas by building factories and contributing to local economic and social progress. Guided by the principle of extensive consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits, China’s Belt and Road Initiative is open, green and clean, and it follows a high-standard, people-centered, sustainable approach. With support and participation of over 150 countries and international organizations, the initiative opens up more prospects for global growth and provides a new platform for international trade and investment. I believe no American company wants to miss the incredible business opportunities presented by China.

Yesterday, China and the United States concluded the 11th round of trade talks. The two sides have not reached an agreement, but agreed to continue the talk. China is sincere to reach an agreement with the U.S. through negotiation. At the same time, we strongly believe that the agreement must be equal, mutually beneficial and respect each other’s dignity. Imposition of additional tariffs doesn’t serve the interests of China, the U.S. and the whole world. It is not the solution. As a country, China will have no choice but to take necessary counter- measures. China and the U.S. are both major countries. It is only natural that we encounter setbacks in the negotiation. China will treat them with rationality and take a forward-looking attitude. We hope that the U.S. side will meet China halfway to reach a win-win deal based on mutual respect. This is in the interests of both sides and also meets the general expectations of the international community.

Our confidence comes from the huge potential of China-U.S. sub-national cooperation. Our sub-national cooperation is booming. We have established a comprehensive and multi-tiered pattern of sub-national exchanges and cooperation. This includes 50 pairs of sister provinces/states and 227 pairs of sister cities between our two countries. This year alone, we will hold the fifth China-U.S. Governors Forum in Kentucky, the fourth China-U.S. Sub-national Legislatures Cooperation Forum in Hebei Province of China, and the fourth China-U.S. Sister Cities Conference in Houston, Texas. In the past decade, all 50 states of the United States have maintained a three-digit growth in their services exports to China, and 48 of them have significantly increased their exports in goods to China. China is among the top five export market of goods for 44 states and that of services for 49 states.

Utah presents an excellent model in developing friendship and cooperation with China in the United States. Ambassador Cui Tiankai’s Congratulatory Message has listed several impressive records set by Utah in the China-U.S. relationship. Utah is very competitive in tourism, outdoor sports, hi-tech, education and high quality natural resources. It has many to offer to meet the increasing consumption needs of the Chinese people. Utah is planning to build an Inland Port. It’s investment environment has unique advantage. In the past decade alone, Utah’s services exports to China have increased by over 250%, far higher than that to any other region. The commercial visits between China and Utah are becoming more and more frequent. We are exploring the possibility of establishing a joint trade and investment working group and looking for opportunities to cooperate on Utah’s Inland Port. Today, over 40 Chinese enterprises from various industries have gathered in Salt Lake City, which fully demonstrates the strong interest the Chinese business community has in Utah. It is our hope that entrepreneurs from both sides will take this rare opportunity to get acquainted with each other, make contacts, expand cooperation, and achieve early deliverables.

Our confidence comes from the strong bonds between our two peoples. Now, over 5.3 million visits are made between our people annually. More than 14,000 people fly between the two countries every day for work, study, and leisure. In 2018, more than 360,000 Chinese students studied in American universities and colleges, making China the No. 1 source of international students in America for nine consecutive years. Our two peoples are more connected than ever before, and this collaborative environment provides a solid foundation for the continuous development of our bilateral relationship.

Utah is unique in its people-to-people exchanges with China. The state is a pioneer with regard to Chinese-language education. Utahan’s strong interest in the Chinese language and Chinese culture has helped deepen their understanding of China, which is both an ancient and young country. Utah’s abundant tourism resources are very attractive to the Chinese people, who have become the largest group of foreign tourists here. At yesterday’s Golden Spike 150 Festival, the indelible contribution made by Chinese railroad workers to the Transcontinental Railroad was commemorated and honored. This shows Utah’s respect for this chapter of its history and its readiness to strengthen our peoples’ bonds.

The current status of China-U.S. relations presents certain challenges. We believe that confidence is more precious than gold at this critical time. With confidence, we will not make light of the path we have come along together, but will firmly believe that win-win cooperation has always been the theme of our relationship, and the future of our relationship lies in cooperation. With confidence, we will have the courage and wisdom to squarely face our differences and frictions, have candid dialogues like equal-footed partners, and avoid conflicts and confrontation as best as we can. With confidence, we will be able to cast aside suspicions and accusations, focus on our own businesses and problems, view our respective growth and development as opportunities, and make the pie of cooperation even bigger. With confidence, we will be able to dispel the clouds that block our view, clearly figure out what kind of China-U.S. relationship best serves our two peoples’ fundamental interests, and shape the present and future of our relationship together.

China has long made a clear and firm choice. China stands ready to work with the US, to expand cooperation on the basis of mutual benefits, manage differences on the basis of mutual respect, build the China-US relationship featuring coordination, cooperation and stability, so as to deliver greater benefits to the two peoples and people around the world.

Ladies and gentlemen,

This year marks the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China. After 70 years of hard work, the Chinese government and people have found an effective path of development. This is the path of socialism with Chinese characteristics. We will keep to it and steadily move forward.

No matter how the international landscape may change, we will adhere to the people-centered development philosophy and always take the people's aspiration for a better life as our goal. We will deepen reform across the board, pursue high-quality development, advance opening-up to a higher level and a faster pace, expand market access for foreign investment in a wider range of areas, strengthen IPR protection, and increase imports of goods and services on a larger scale. We will stay committed to the path of peaceful development, build a new type of international relations that features win-win cooperation, actively build a community with a shared future for mankind, and expand the convergence of interests with other countries. We will continue to firmly support and participate in the process of globalization, oppose all forms of trade protectionism, and work to make economic globalization more open, inclusive, and balanced so that all can share its benefits. We firmly believe that China's domestic and foreign policies will continue to profoundly change China and the world, and that it will provide the impetus and vitality for the development of China-U.S. relations.

Ladies and gentlemen,

One hundred years ago when Brigham Young led believers to Salt Lake City, he thought this was the place. Through my visit to Utah over the last several days, I firmly believe that this is the place for China-U.S. cooperation. Let us work together and build on the current achievements to deepen our practical cooperation with full enthusiasm. Let us forge ahead to build a stronger and more steady China-U.S. relationship with a pioneering spirit.

Thank you! Have a great evening!


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