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Remarks by H.E. Ambassador Lu Shaye at the Seminar on China-Canada Economy and Trade of Canadian Chamber of Commerce
2018/02/08

Mr. Chairman,

Ladies and gentlemen,

Dear friends,

Good afternoon!

I am very glad to come to the Canadian Chamber of Commerce and exchange views with entrepreneur friends here. The traditional Chinese Spring Festival will arrive in a week, so first allow me, in Chinese traditional way, wish everyone of you a happy Chinese New Year in advance! The Spring Festival is the most important time of the year to the Chinese people. It marks the end of the past lunar year and the beginning of a new lunar year, which we call "the celebration of discarding old and bringing in new".

In the past year, a more open and confident China once again grabbed the attention of the world. At the critical moment when anti-globalization thought is on the rise, the protectionist policy is pursued by major countries, and the free trade is being challenged, Chinese President Xi Jinping delivered two important speeches in Davos and Geneva, Switzerland at the beginning of 2017, voicing a strong support for economic globalization, multilateralism and free trade, and proposing China's initiative of building a community with a shared future for mankind leading to a more ideal world, which received sustained international echoes. For the first time, China's GDP exceeded 80 trillion yuan (about 13 trillion U.S. dollars), a year-on-year increase of 6.9%. China's economy has maintained a sound while steady growth momentum with a better-than-expected overall performance. The total value of the import and export of Chinese goods reached 4.34 trillion U.S. dollars, up by 14.2% compared to the previous year, therefore turning around the previous decline for two consecutive years. China's non-financial outbound direct investment reached 120 billion U.S. dollars and the actual use of foreign investment hit a record high at 131 billion U.S. dollars. In 2017, the Communist Party of China (CPC) convened the 19th National Congress, which is of historical significance. In addition, China successfully held the first Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation and the CPC in Dialogue with World Political Parties High-Level Meeting.

2017 marks the first year of a "new golden era" for China-Canada relations. Over the past year, leaders of the two countries have maintained frequent exchanges. Governor General David Johnston and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, as well as more than ten ministers and governors, visited China successively, thus strengthening the top-level design and strategic planning for bilateral relations. The two sides launched the Economic and Financial Strategic Dialogue, completed the Joint Feasible Study on China-Canada FTA and Exploratory Discussion, held the 2nd China-Canada High-Level National Security and Rule of Law Dialogue and carried out bilateral institutional dialogues covering wide fields, such as diplomacy, military affairs, judiciary, agriculture, and environment. It can be said that the framework for the development of China-Canada relations in the "new golden era" has been established and the next step is to make contributions to it.

As China and Canada enjoy strong complementarities in economy, our economic and trade cooperation serves as an important engine to drive the development of bilateral relations. The leaders of the two countries set the goal of doubling the bilateral trade volume by 2025 on the basis of 2015. In 2017, China-Canada economic and trade cooperation continued developing at a steady pace. According to the data from China Customs, the trade volume between China and Canada hit 51.76 billion U.S. dollars in 2017, up by 13.3% year-on-year, among which China's imports from Canada stood at 20.37 billion U.S. dollars, up by 11.1 % while its exports to Canada stood at 31.39 billion U.S. dollars, up by 14.8%. Chinese students in Canada increased by 64,000, making the total number of the Chinese students studying in Canada exceed 200,000 for the first time. At present, China is the third largest tourism source of Canada. In the first 11 months of 2017, 640,000 Chinese tourists came to Canada for traveling, surpassing the level of the whole year of 2016, increasing by 11%.

Despite the increasingly closer political, economic and trade, as well as people-to-people and cultural exchanges between China and Canada, I am always feeling that quite a few Canadians don't actually understand China. In fact, they still hold many stereotypical perceptions and prejudice against China. To understand China means not only to know its past, but also to learn about its nowadays. To understand China's nowadays means to see the modernization development of China, and more importantly, to explore the reasons behind its rapid development.

Ladies and gentlemen,

The CPC is the ruling party with more than 89 million members, which means that the vast majority of social and political elites who promote the development of China's modernization get together in the Party. Therefore, to understand today's China and explore the mysteries in its development, it is necessary to understand the CPC and its concepts on state governance and ruling guidelines. The 19th CPC National Congress convened last fall put forward Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era. This Thought is based on the historic achievements and changes in China over the past five years, as well as the basic experiences of nearly 40 years China's reform and opening-up and the 70 years development of the People's Republic of China. The Thought is the latest theoretical summary of the development history of contemporary China and the latest plan for the development blueprint for future China. The report released at the 19th CPC National Congress pointed out that by 2020, China will complete the building of a moderately prosperous society in all respects and eliminate poverty; from 2020 to 2035, China will basically realize modernization; and China will build itself into a great modern country from 2035 to 2050. The set of goals has charted the course for China's development by the middle of this century and the evaluation indicators set for different fields define the means of its realization.

It is precisely because of the leadership of the CPC, the development path suitable for China's national conditions and the superiority of the system of socialism with Chinese characteristics, that China has made such brilliant development achievements nowadays. I know that most people in western countries do not agree with or even oppose socialism, considering all of the socialism as a heresy or threat. That's fine. You can reserve your opinions and positions, but please try to think about why a system disgusted and repulsed by you can lift the Chinese people out of poverty for a happy life in a short time, build a poor and weak country often bullied by others into the second largest economy in the world, and make a developing country champion of open economy, free trade and multilateralism. There must be legitimacy in the existence of this system. Only by taking such legitimacy in an objective way and frankly accepting it can you put aside pride and prejudice and eliminate disturbance and obstacles when dealing with China, so as to achieve mutual benefit and win-win results.

Ladies and gentlemen,

2018 will be an important year for deepening China-Canada cooperation. The two countries will continue firmly supporting economic globalization and free trade, taking active steps in tackling climate change, keeping close communication and coordination in multilateral organizations including the United Nations, the Group of 20 (G20), and the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), and keeping communication on the official launching of the negotiation on China-Canada Free Trade Agreement. As 2018 marks the Year of China-Canada Tourism, over a million Chinese tourists are expected to visit Canada and more Canadian friends are welcome to visit China. In 2018, China will hold the first China International Import Expo, which will help to expand the export of Canadian goods to China. We welcome Canadian chambers of commerce and enterprises to participate actively in the exhibition. We have reasons to believe that broad prospects and greater achievements are to be seen in China-Canada relations in the new era.

Thank you!

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