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Li Keqiang Attends and Addresses Welcome Banquet Held by Economic Club of New York and Answers Questions
2016/09/22

On the evening of September 20, 2016 local time, Premier Li Keqiang attended and addressed the welcome banquet jointly held by Economic Club of New York, National Committee on US-China Relations, and US-China Business Council and answered questions.

Li Keqiang expressed that in light of such unstable and uncertain factors as sluggish world economic recovery and rising geopolitical conflicts, no country living in the same planet can be spared. Although having witnessed a growth slowdown, China’s economy, which has been deeply integrated with the world, still maintains a steady growth. In the first half of this year, China’s economic growth rate remained at 6.7 percent, which is not easy for an economic entity whose aggregate reaches 10 trillion dollars. The annual economic growth rate of China currently stands at 6 percent to 7 percent, which means 800 billion dollars of annual GDP growth volume, equivalent to the economic aggregate of a middle-sized economy.

Li Keqiang pointed out that the reason why China must keep a medium-to-high growth speed is that China has a population of 1.3 billion, and the number of newly-added workforce in cities and towns every year reaches 14 million. There are still over 50 million impoverished people in China, and we have to use the power of the nation to declare a war on poverty. As for why China can maintain a medium-to-high economic growth level, it is because China is advancing economic restructuring and upgrade, and actively fostering new drivers and impetus while transforming and improving traditional production capacity. In the past 30-plus years, China has achieved tremendous development thanks to the reform and opening-up policy, and now the policy will also promote economic transformation and upgrade.

Li Keqiang emphasized that the US is the largest developed country while China is the largest developing country. China still has a long way to go before achieving modernization. China’s development has benefited from a peaceful international environment and stable surroundings. We will unswervingly follow the path of peaceful development, resolutely safeguard the purposes and principles of the UN Charter, and protect the authority of the UN in coordinating international affairs. China is willing to work with all parties to promote a robust, sustainable, balanced and inclusive growth of the world economy, facilitate the coordinated development of economy and society, and build a harmonious world featuring mutual respect, mutual benefit and win-win results.

Attending representatives from the economic sector expressed their views on China’s business environment, China-US relations and economic and trade cooperation, the RMB exchange rate, the globalization process and other issues. Li Keqiang answered their questions one by one.

Li Keqiang said that when Dr. Henry Kissinger visited China 45 years ago, the trade volume between China and the US was nearly zero. Today, bilateral trade amount accounts for 1/5 of the world total volume, and the sum of economic aggregate of China and the US accounts for 1/3 of the world economy. Given the enormous quantity in trade and investment between the two countries, there are naturally disputes and frictions. However, the common interests between the both countries far outweigh the misunderstandings and differences. The ongoing negotiation on the bilateral investment treaty is to send a positive signal to the business circles of the two countries that both sides will further expand mutual openness and investment. It is hoped that the US will adopt a practical and flexible attitude and make concerted efforts with China to strive for a high-level, mutually beneficial and win-win bilateral investment treaty. Through more trade and personnel exchanges and honest communication, both countries can enhance mutual understanding and mutual trust, in a bid to push China-US relations towards a stable and positive development.

Li Keqiang pointed out that the development of China still needs foreign investment as well as advanced technology and management philosophy. China has been the largest destination of direct foreign investment among developing countries for 24 consecutive years, and is still a promising land for foreign investment. When gradually expanding the scope of opening up, China will allow foreign investment to enter into more areas. China’s door of opening up will be wider.

Former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger and others noted that the US and China, as the two most influential countries in the world, have the responsibility to strengthen communication, avoid conflicts and build consensus, so as to make important contributions to the development of US-China relations and world peace, stability, development and prosperity.

Present representatives from all walks of life of the US responded Premier Li Keqiang’s speech and answers with rounds of warm applause.

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