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Enhance Sino-US Partnership and Promote Growth of Trade in Services

Speech at the lunch reception in the National Press Club

Washington D.C. 26th October 2009

Capt. Wei Jiafu, Chairman of China Association of Trade in Services

8 years ago, when I was interviewed by one US media in Washington DC for the very first time, I was warned that it needs a little courage to face the media. Today, I was warned again that it needs 200 times courage to enter this room, because I am facing with over 200 media people. I said “No”!!! ------I don’t need any courage to be here, although I do have it. I only bring one thing here: Sincerity. That’s the basis for today’s communication. That’s also the basis for international trade.

Ladies and gentlemen, my dear friends,

Good afternoon!

I am very pleased today to meet all of you, my old and new friends here at the National Press Club. First of all, I would like to thank you for coming and extend my appreciation for the National Press Club for hosting today’s lunch for my delegation.

In the past, I have visited your great country many times. But most of the time, I was visiting these places in my capacity as President & CEO of COSCO, a leading shipping and logistics corporation, also a Fortune Global 500 company, and as Executive Chairman of CFIE-China Federation of Industrial Economies. And that was in year of 2003 .This time, I am leading a delegation from CATIS – China Association of Trade in Services to visit D.C. and other locations afterwards, in my new capacity as Chairman of this organization, and People’s Ambassador to the United States of America, a title which Congressman Stephen Lynch gave me in his speech at the House of Representatives days ago.

Established in Nov. 2007, CATIS became the first national association in China representing major service sectors like shipping and logistics, banking and insurance, tourism, IT and information services, accounting and consulting, publishing and media, etc. Most of Chinese leading companies in these sectors have become members of this association and some of these members have their representatives in my delegation.

In our intensive schedule, CATIS delegation will visit the important cities in the United States. We hope that by visiting these major places and meeting with our partners and friends in American communities, we can convey our best wishes to our friends in the US. In the meantime, we also hope that we can further enhance mutual trust, deepen bilateral cooperation, seek common development and promote the growth of trade in services.

This year marks the 30th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and the US. In past 30 years, China and the US have successfully established business partnership and this has helped the both countries achieve a continued bilateral trade growth. According to statistics from Ministry of Commerce of China, the amount of bilateral trade in 1979 was less than 25 billion U.S. dollars, and 30 years afterwards this amount has reached 3,337 billion U.S. dollars, more than 130 times compared with the amount in 1979. In 2008, total amount of US exports to China was 159 billion U.S. dollars, total amount of imports was 61 billion U.S. dollars, and favorable balance reached 98 billion U.S. dollars.

The United States is the largest developed country in the world. This country has advanced science and technology, abundant capital and strong market demand. China is the largest developing country in the world. We have rich human resources, vast market and continuously improved investment environment. United States and China is each other’s second largest trade partner. Economies are highly complementary between two countries. We have broad common interests, and broad space for cooperation, especially in service trade. With a good development trend revealed in mutual investment, economic and technical cooperation, we have full confidence to foresee the future growth of service trade between China and the US.

At present, the further development of Sino-US relationship is facing important opportunities and challenges. In the fourth Sino-US relationship seminar, Chairman Zeng Peiyan of China International Economic Exchange Center made a keynote speech. He said balanced development issues should be viewed in economic globalization, that in the long history of human development, the balance is relative, imbalance is absolute, and we should fully understand this contradiction in the current world economic development. From unbalanced to the relative balance, then to new imbalances, this is an important driving force of pushing world economic forward. He pointed out that both sides should firmly oppose and resist all forms of trade protectionism and unreasonable restrictions on investment, remove non-economic factors to trade and investment, maintain the fair free open global trade and investment system, strengthen the early resumption of the Doha Round talks and achieve a comprehensive and balanced outcome. China-US economic and trade relationship is an important basis for Sino-US relationship, and we hope that both sides should always proceed from a strategic height and long-term view to handle China-US economic and trade relations, strive to seek and expand common interests, economic and trade frictions should not be allowed to affect the healthy development of bilateral economic and trade cooperation. I hope everyone here could make full use of your influence, and actively promote mutual benefit of China-US economic and trade cooperation, oppose the politicization of economic and trade issues, make joint efforts with China to promote bilateral economic and trade relations in the new starting point, continue to develop.

Since the first day CATIS was founded, this organization has the mission to lead a healthy development of service industries in China. During the past two years, CATIS has successfully established closer links with various service sectors in China and gradually strengthened the capability to speak on behalf of its members. Step by step, we are able to play a role of bridge and platform between government, business associations and individual corporations. At present, the association has nearly 200 members.

Since CATIS was set up, it also bears responsibilities to communicate and exchange with foreign counterparts, so as to promote the growth of service trade in the world. In May 2008, I sent a delegation led by one of my vice chairmen to visit the United States. They had visited a number of organizations in the service trade community, and started the process to interact with our colleagues in the United States. In September 2008, I led a delegation of CATIS to the headquarters of the European Union and Belgium, Netherlands and Germany. On that trip, we were honored to be invited by Belgian Prime Minister Yves Leterme to visit his office and other government officials and business leaders in those countries. After fruitful and constructive meetings, we all agreed that China and Europe shall make more efforts to further grow the business partnership, especially in service trade.

From the perspective of CATIS, I believe we can work together with our American counterparts in the following aspects:

First, we shall consider the possibility to do researches together on the corporate strategy of international competitiveness.

Second, Chinese and American service trade organizations shall strengthen dialogue with our colleagues worldwide and participate in the process to solve international trade disputes more actively. In the beginning period of most trade disputes, if non-governmental organizations like our business associations can play a bigger role, most disputes will be resolved peacefully instead of becoming trade wars.

Third, we shall make more efforts to safeguard the international free trade regime. Free trade is the fundamental way to complement each other. We shall work together with government and other related parties, provide reasonable proposals in order to remove barriers to services trade, and build an open, fair, transparent, and non-discriminatory multilateral trading system.

Last month, US government made the decision to add a 35% tariff on China-made tires exported to the US. Frankly speaking, this is not the sensible way to resolve trade disputes. China has no willingness to dump its tires into American market. Chinese tires have taken a bigger share at US market, because of its stable quality and lower price. It may help to leave more market share to US tire manufacturers by increasing tariffs, but these measures of protectionism will eventually harm American consumers and tire related sectors.

For these purposes, CATIS is firmly committed to support and promote trade in services. The association has had a good cooperative relationship with Gartner. For three consecutive years, CATIS delegations participated in Gartner Outsourcing Summit. At the end of August this year, our member company - China Unicom and Apple signed a three-year contract regarding iPhone entering Chinese market. As the national association of service trade in China, CATIS welcomes leading US companies to invest in China, and we also encourage leading Chinese enterprises to go abroad, establish trade relations and invest in the United States as well as other foreign countries.

To fight against the international financial crisis, China has adopted macro economic policies to maintain a stable economic growth. At present, China's economy has shown positive signals, even better than expected. Last week, the central government announced China’s GDP in 3rd quarter accelerated to 8.9%, with a very positive and possible prediction for 8% target for 2009 With China's large-scale investment projects in infrastructure and environment protection, I believe US companies will have more opportunity to grow your business in China.

Ladies and gentlemen, there is a popular saying in today’s world: the golden age is ahead of us. We are now well-prepared! Let us make joint effort, to work with our partners and friends in the United States, to further grow the bilateral relations in service trade, so as to achieve mutual benefits and make more contribution to the ever growing friendship between the two nations.

Thank you

Thanks Chairperson Leinwand! Nice container, very similar to a shipping container. It contains friendship and loaded with fair trade! Thanks!

 

 


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