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Keynote Speech at CCBC Vancouver Chapter by by Ambassador Lu Shaye
2017/05/11

The Honorable Teresa Wat, Minister of International Trade and Minister for Asia-Pacific Strategy,

Mr. David Fung, Vice Chairman of CCBC,

Mrs. Sarah Kutulakos, Executive Director of CCBC,

Mr. Stewart Beck, President and CEO of Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada,

The Honorable Senator Jack Austin, Co-chair of UBC China Concil,

Ladies and gentlemen,

Dear friends,

It is my great pleasure to be here in the season of spring with blooming flowers and meet with friends from industrial and commercial community in Province of British Colombia. I'm grateful to the Canada China Business Council Vancouver Chapter for holding this luncheon.

BC Province is Canada's gateway to the Asia-Pacific. One and a half centuries ago, Vancouver is the place where the first Chinese stepped on this land. From here, Chinese immigrants devoted themselves to the construction of the Canadian Pacific Railway that connects the east and the west of Canada, making enormous sacrifices and important contributions to the early development of Canada.

Since the establishment of China-Canada diplomatic relations, BC Province especially Vancouver has been playing an important role of bridgehead for China-Canada cooperation. In recent years, China and BC Province are continuously making significant progress in economic and trade cooperation and people-to-people exchanges. I'd like to take this opportunity to pay high tribute to the BC government and people from all walks of life for their positive efforts to promote the bilateral cooperation.

Over the past few years, the recovery of global economy remains fragile and weak, trade and investment are sluggish, protectionism is rising and anti-globalization keeps surging. All of us may wonder what's wrong with global economy and how can we find the way out. Actually, today's productivity of our mankind has been far more powerful and what we lack is no longer resources and capabilities to boost economic growth. The key problem is that the fragmentation and the exclusiveness of the current international cooperation mechanisms make it difficult to effectively integrate resources and give full scope to them. The world today is keen to have an open, inclusive and shared cooperation platform that brings all parties together to jointly cope with global challenges. Just under such a general background, Chinese President Xi Jinping proposed the "Belt and Road" initiative in 2013, aiming to build a platform for international cooperation and provide a new solution to meet the global economic challenges.

The "Belt and Road" is the abbreviation for the "Silk Road Economic Belt" and the "21st-Century Maritime Silk Road". In the history, the Silk Road linked China and countries in East Asia to Central Asia, South Asia, West Asia and even European and African countries, promoting the trade and economic cooperation and cultural exchanges among them. The "Belt and Road" initiative borrows the hallmark of the ancient Silk Road to connect again Asian, European and African countries through land routes and waterways and form a large network of cooperation and development.

This network is not a closed one. China proposed from the very beginning that the "Belt and Road" ought to be built on the basis of the following important visions.

First, openness. The participating countries of the "Belt and Road" initiative include but are not confined to countries along the ancient Silk Road routes. The initiative is also open to all countries around the globe, international and regional organizations.

Second, inclusiveness. We respect different development paths and modes, promote dialogue between various civilizations, advocate seeking common ground while putting aside differences, and pursue peaceful coexistence.

Third, win-win results. We take into full account the interests and concerns of all parties, seek for convergence points of them and the greatest common divisor for cooperation in order to give full play to the advantages and unleash the potentials of all.

We abide by the principle of wide consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits on advancing the "Belt and Road" initiative, and carry out cooperation in the following priority areas.

The first is policy communication. Participanting countries fully communicate and coordinate their economic development strategies and policies, jointly work out plans and measures for regional cooperation, negotiate to solve cooperation-related issues, and provide common policy support for the implementation of major projects of practical cooperation .

The second is infrastructure connectivity. Inter-connectivity among countries will be gradually achieved through cooperation, and an infrastructure network including land lanes, waterways, ports, aviation, energy and communication and other key infrastructures will take shape.

The third is unimpeded trade. Great efforts will be made to improve trade and investment facilitation, and remove trade and investment barriers for the creation of a sound business environment within the region and in all related countries. We will discuss with countries and regions along the "Belt and Road" on opening free trade areas so as to unleash the potentials for expanded cooperation.

The fourth is capital flows. We will deepen financial cooperation, giving full play to financial institutions such as the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) and the BRICS New Development Bank (NDB), taking advantage of China's Silk Road Fund and sovereign wealth funds of different countries, and encouraging commercial equity investment funds and private funds to participate in the construction of key projects of the Initiative.

The fifth is people-to-people bond. We will promote extensive exchanges and cooperation in various areas such as culture, academics, media and local affairs to boost mutual understanding and amity between peoples, and create a peaceful and friendly environment for development.

Three-plus years on, the initiative was broadly received and gained active participation. The headway and results are beyond expectations. More than 100 countries and international organizations have actively engaged, among which over 40 countries and international organizations have signed cooperation agreements with China. Investment of China in countries along the "Belt and Road" routes have amounted to 50 billion USD. Chinese enterprises have set up in 20 countries 56 economic and trade cooperation zones, and created more than 180 thousand local jobs. The "Belt and Road" is now deemed to be an important platform for international cooperation as well as a new public goods in the world.

A few days later from May 14 to 15, the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation will be held in Beijing. This will be the first international meeting on the "Belt and Road" since the initiative was proposed. The theme of the forum is "Strengthening International Cooperation, Co-building the 'Belt and Road' and for Win-Win Development". Around 30 heads of state and government from Asia, Europe, Africa and Latin America will attend the forum. Moreover, officials, scholars, entrepreneurs, financial institutions and media from 110 countries, as well as principals and representatives from more than 60 international organizations will also be present. The forum will be attended by over 1200 representatives.

During the forum, more consensus will be reached; key areas of bilateral and multilateral cooperation will be determined through consultation; plans will be mapped out for cooperation in the next five years or even longer; detailed and concrete action plans and project lists in various fields will be made, so that political consensus reached by leaders will be turned into actions to implement projects. We wish the forum a full success.

Dear friends,

The "Belt and Road" is also open to Canada. In fact, Canada has somehow engaged in the "Belt and Road" construction. Canada has joined the AIIB and this will provide favorable conditions for Canada to participate in the Asian infrastructure construction. In 2016, the BC government and Guangdong Province of China signed a cooperation agreement on the "Belt and Road". This is a pioneering and exploratory act for the "Belt and Road" initiative at the level of local governments of the two countries. In a sense, the "Belt and Road" initiative has extended to North America. However, the cooperative scope and potentials still needs to be exploited by Canada.

Dear friends,

China and Canada are both important countries in the Asia-Pacific region, and we both staunchly support economic globalization and oppose trade protectionism. At present, China-Canada relations are entering into a new "Golden Era". As Chinese Ambassador to Canada, my important mission is to seize this historic opportunity to push bilateral friendly relationship for greater development, and fully tap potentials for bilateral cooperation. To this end, we hope to jointly work with the Canadian side in the following aspects.

Firstly, both sides should possess a strategic vision. Neither side should treat bilateral cooperation as an expedient to refer to when in trouble. Instead, we should realize that bilateral cooperation will provide persistent and strong impetus for the sustainable development of the two countries. For China, Canada is an important partner among its international cooperative partners. While for Canada, the Chinese market with a population of 1.3-odd billion is an inexhaustible bonanza. Against the fierce international competition, only those who win the Chinese market prevail.

Secondly, both sides should possess the resolve to take action. Once goals are set and direction is determined, actions should be taken. "Empty talks harm the country, while hard work makes it prosperous". The same is true of China-Canada cooperation. However perfect a blueprint is, it will remain a piece of waste paper without being carried out. No matter how good thing, there will be different opinions on it. As we Chinese like to say, "Every success has a negative side. Do it if the advantages outweigh the disadvantages." Both sides should have the courage to overcome all objections, and do what benefits the biggest majority of people as well as future generations. Opportunity knocks but once, take it now or never. While you are putting on your shoes, your competitors have already been running on their way.

Thirdly, both sides should possess the sense of win-win results. Cooperation is always mutually beneficial. The two sides should neither want itself to be the only beneficiary, nor feel disadvantaged when the other side gains benefits, still less harm the other side's benefits for its own. The negotiation on signing of the free trade agreement (FTA) between China and Canada are not charity work from one side to the other, but an act for mutual benefit and win-win results. It is hoped that both sides could understand and accommodate each other during the negotiation, and take full account of each other's comfort zone, so as to reach consensus and sign the agreement at an early date.

Dear friends,

Vancouver is a livable city and it is also a city with most Asian features in Canada. Here we can feel the charms of multi-culture. As Canada's bridgehead facing the Asia-Pacific region, BC Province and Vancouver City are expected to play a greater role in China-Canada cooperation.

Thank you for your attention!

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