Welcome Remarks
Bi Jingquan: The fundamental nature of China-U.S. economic and trade ties is mutual benefit and win-win cooperation.
November 09, 2023

Bi Jingquan

Executive Vice Chairman, China International Economic Exchange Center

Chairman John Zhao, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,

Good afternoon, everyone!

I am very happy to be here in Hong Kong to co-host the forum with the China-U.S. Exchange Foundation. On behalf of the China Center for International Economic Exchanges, I would like to extend a warm welcome to all the guests and express my sincere gratitude to the foundation for its intensive preparations for the event.

The presidents of China and the United States are expected to hold summit talks at the APEC meeting in San Francisco. This is an encouraging piece of news for countries and people concerned about the relations between the two countries. After all, we all hope that their relations will stop worsening and be stabilized soon and get back on track toward healthy and stable development.

The China-U.S. relationship is the most important bilateral relationship in the world, and whether the two countries can get along well affects the future of mankind. Fifty-two years ago, far-seeing leaders of the two countries decided to build diplomatic ties and normalize their relations, a decision which has not only benefited the two peoples but also changed the world. Economic and trade cooperation between the two countries has grown in both depth and width, forming a win-win relationship marked by highly complementary trade structures and deeply intertwined interests. For the United States, China is the third-largest trading partner, the largest export market for agricultural products and one of the top three export markets for 38 states. More than one million jobs in the U.S. are related to exports to China. In addition, more than 70,000 American companies have invested and established business in China, with their annual profits totaling more than 50 billion dollars. China is also its fifth-largest source of inbound tourists and the largest source of international students.

In order to promote China-U.S. relations, especially in the economic and trade sectors, both countries have made unremitting efforts. Between 2005 and 2016, they held six strategic dialogues and eight rounds of strategic and economic dialogues to discuss major issues in bilateral relations and ensure that their economic and trade relations remained on a track toward healthy development. The two sides also established the Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade, which met every year to discuss and resolve major economic and trade issues. Moreover, there were more than 100 dialogue and exchange mechanisms designed to promptly address problems in bilateral relations, thus providing important institutional safeguards for bilateral economic and trade relations.

After 2018, despite the high tariffs imposed by the United States on Chinese exports, two-way trade has witnessed continuous growth. And in spite of the impact of the pandemic in the past three years, two-way trade reached $759.4 billion in 2022, an increase of 40 percent over 2019.

Facts have shown that China-U.S. relations have strong resilience and vitality. Their economic and trade relations are so close that one can’t develop without the other. The fundamental nature of China-U.S. economic and trade ties is mutual benefit and win-win cooperation. Even if the United States does not import many products from China, it will have to import them from other countries, which will not reduce its overall trade deficit. To politicize and overstretch the concept of national security on economic and trade issues not only seriously undermines bilateral relations and mutual trust but also harms the interests of companies and the people of the two countries. These efforts also could have a catastrophic impact on the global economy.

We must implement the principles reached by the two presidents last year in developing China-U.S. relations —namely mutual respect, peaceful coexistence and win-win cooperation. We should leverage the roles of the recently established working groups on economic, financial and commercial issues to strengthen communication and coordination in the economic and financial sectors, to stabilize and expand economic and trade relations as the ballast stone of our bilateral relations and to bring vitality to global development.

Specifically, China and the United States should work together to

a) safeguard world peace and stability and partner with the international community to resolve conflicts and differences through diplomatic means;

b) uphold bilateral economic and trade ties as an anchor for the world economy and protect the established bilateral economic and trade landscape;

c) safeguard the stability of global supply chains and industrial chains and ensure their resilience;

d) maintain the stability of the global financial market and enhance financial cooperation;

e) maintain global energy security, food security and ecological security and create a sound environment for the development of human society;

f) push global governance systems toward greater fairness and equity and strengthen their responsiveness to global challenges to development, security, climate and other areas.

The hope of China-U.S. relations lies in the people; its foundation lies in people-to-people exchanges; and its future lies in the youth. It means that the two countries should continue to expand exchanges between local governments, in education, think tanks, art and other fields, as well as in people-to people exchanges, so as to enhance the improvement and stabilization of relations.

Since the beginning of this year, China’s economy has continued to recover. In the first three quarters, its GDP increased by 5.2 percent year-on-year and is expected to achieve its annual growth target of 5 percent. At the same time, China has introduced a series of policy measures to restore and expand consumption, promote the private sector and draw more foreign investment. China remains a popular destination for foreign investment and a leading country in terms of global engagement. A sound and stable China-U.S. relationship benefits not only the two countries but also the wider world. I hope that the presidents will hold talks in San Francisco and produce positive outcomes, thus bringing China-U.S. relations — especially in the economic and trade sectors — back on the track of healthy and stable development.

I wish this forum a complete success.

Thank you.

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