The following is the official translation of the speech delivered by Chinese President Hu Jintao at the official reception of the Asian-African Business Summit.
Seize the Opportunity for All-round Cooperation and Common Development
-- Speech by President Hu Jintao of China at the Official Dinner Reception of the Asian-African Business Summit 2005 in Jakarta on April 21, 2005
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is a great pleasure today for me to attend this official dinner reception of the Asian-African Business Summit 2005. As business leaders, you are the driving force behind Asian-African economic development and important participants of the two continents' cooperation as well. At a time when Asian and African countries are discussing the establishment of a new-type strategic partnership, more dialogues and exchanges among their businesses communities will definitely add new life to closer Asian-African cooperation.
In the world today, economic globalization is further developing, which presents Asian and African countries with rare opportunities as well as severe challenges. Advancing science and technology, optimization and regrouping of production factors, quickening industrial shift and greater interdependence among states have turned the global economy into an inter-active and integral whole. This has brought about favorable conditions for Asian and African countries to tap their advantages and take an active part in international division of labor and cooperation so as to realize their own development goals. In the meantime, economic globalization has sharpened world-wide economic and technological competition. New trade barriers, recurring economic and financial crises and widening North-South gap have placed some Asian and African countries in difficult straits of being marginalized.
Faced with both opportunities and challenges, we Asian and African countries must seize opportunities, strengthen cooperation to cope with challenges and seek common development. I would like to share with you some ideas for achieving our objectives.
First, we must proceed from our national conditions while mapping out plans for development. This is the fundamental approach for Asian and African countries to respond to opportunities and challenges posed by deepening economic globalization. Facts have proved that to proceed from the reality and find a development road and model suited to one's national conditions are crucial to gaining the initiative and speeding up development. Therefore, we should have full exchange and share of our respective experiences, draw upon achievements of modern civilization, better grasp and apply the objective laws on developing economy in the context of deepening economic globalization and improve the capacity of self-improvement. It is important to carry out institutional reform and innovation, take advantage of market mechanism, fully tap the potential and strike a balance between long term and immediate interests, growth and environment, and efficiency and fairness. We need to rely on scientific and technological advancement and innovation, optimize economic structure and transform the growth pattern so as to realize all-round, coordinated and sustainable socio-economic development.
Second, we should carry out mutually beneficial cooperation in all fields on an equal footing. This constitutes an effective way for us to respond to the opportunities and challenges of deepening economic globalization. With a variety of resources and different industrial structures, our economies are complementary to one another, hence the great potential for cooperation. We should bring into full play the coordinating role of our respective governments, mobilize and integrate the resources of governments, enterprises, individuals and international economic institutions and adopt a new approach of intensifying, expanding and enriching our cooperation and giving play to our respective advantage in a wide range of areas with focus on trade, investment, agriculture, resources exploitation, construction of infrastructure and human resource development. We should open up our markets to one another, actively work for free trade arrangements, and coordinate our economic and trade policies. We should work together to raise funds for development, deepen industrial cooperation and guard against financial risks. It is likewise important to increase contacts and exchanges between regional organizations in Asia and Africa with a view to improving South-South cooperation.
Third, we should work together to create an international development environment featuring win-win cooperation. This is an important factor which will enable countries in Asia and Africa to respond successfully to the opportunities and challenges brought about by deepening economic globalization. A fair and rational new international economic order featuring mutual benefit is not only the common aspiration of all developing countries, but a prerequisite for sustainable development. We must strengthen coordination and urge developed countries to show more concern for the interests of developing countries and take concrete steps such as debt alleviation and development assistance with no strings attached. Assistance is also needed to improve the capacity of developing countries in human resources and scientific and technological development and to tap their market potentials. We must cooperate more closely to facilitate the reform of the international economic, trade and financial regime and improve trade environment in the interest of narrowing the gap between the North and the South. We also need to promote North-South dialogue and cooperation on the basis of equality and mutual benefit, support the coordinating role of the United Nations on development issues and bring about an equitable and win-win economic globalization that benefits all.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
The past 27 years of reform and opening-up have brought about earth-shaking changes in China. From 1979 to 2004, China's economy has grown by an average 9.4 percent annually, annual average consumption up 7 percent and trade 16.7 percent. In 2004, China's GDP topped 1.6494 trillion US dollars. Total imports and exports reached 1.1548 trillion US dollars. We have basically put in place a socialist market economy system. Our productivity and overall national strength are constantly growing, social undertakings flourishing and the historic leap from subsistence to a moderately prosperous society is realized on the whole.
However, there remain many problems and challenges on the road ahead posed by a large population, a weak economic foundation and uneven development, and consequently the mounting pressure arising from population, resources and environment. Despite the considerable size of its GDP, China's per capita GDP still trails behind the 100th in the world. Especially, there are about 26 million rural population living in poverty and 22 million urban residents still depending on the subsistence allowances. It is a long uphill journey before China achieves modernization.
Under the new circumstances of deepening economic globalization, one of the major strategic questions demanding close attention is how to maintain the momentum of sustained, rapid, coordinated and healthy economic and social development by keeping in line with reality, seizing the opportunity and coping with the challenges. After years of groping and experiment, we have found a road to development that conforms to China's reality, the trend of our times and reflects the desire of the people. This is the road of building socialism with Chinese characteristics and the road of peaceful development. We will adhere unswervingly to this road.
We will adhere to the scientific concept on development, remain committed to the people-centered principle, and always work to realize the fundamental goals of elevating people's livelihood, spread the benefits of development to as many people as possible, and give full play to the enthusiasm, initiative and creativity of the people for development.
We will stick to the central task of economic development, strive for a balanced development between urban and rural areas, different regions, economic and social undertakings, man and nature as well as domestic development and opening-up to the world with a view to bringing about a harmonious society with an all-round and parallel development in the economic, social, political and cultural fields.
We will adhere to the direction of building socialist market economy in our reforms, deepen reforms, give full play to the basic role of the market in resources allocation, eliminate the institutional obstacles to economic and social development, put into place and improve system guarantee for comprehensive, coordinated and sustainable development, and constantly increase the creativity of the whole society and strengthen the internal driving force for social progress.
We will stick to a new road of industrialization, focus our efforts on adjusting the economic structure, accelerating the transformation of the economic growth mode and increasing the quality and efficiency of economic growth through scientific advancement and innovation. We will give equal importance to resources development and conservation, step up environmental protection and amelioration, and make rigorous efforts to develop cyclic economy with a view to building a resource-efficient and environment-friendly society along a road of civilized development featuring growing productivity, prosperous life and sound eco-system.
We will adhere to the basic policy of opening up, open our door even wider to the outside world, improve investment and business environment, improve the legal system and build up a more open market system and participate in international economic and technological cooperation and competition in more areas, on a larger scope and at a higher level so as to effectively use international and domestic markets and resources in our quest for common development.
In formulating and implementing development strategies and plans, we take into account both the current and future needs and both the immediate improvement of the people's livelihood and the long-term development so as to facilitate the sustained, rapid, coordinated and healthy development of China's economy and society. Our goal is quadrupling the GDP of 2000 by 2020, reaching 4 trillion US dollars with a per capita GDP of 3,000 US dollars, and to build a moderately prosperous society benefiting the whole population so that we can play a more constructive role in maintaining world peace and strengthening international cooperation.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
For a long time, China's development has benefited from the vigorous support of the developing countries. As a developing country itself, China takes the strengthening of its friendship and cooperation with developing countries as the cornerstone of its foreign policy and always attaches great importance to enhancing its economic and trade cooperation with Asian and African countries. In 2004, the trade between China and Asian and African countries reached 462.99 billion US dollars, up by 35.5 percent year on year. Imports from Asian countries amounted to 254.07 billion US dollars with a year-on-year growth rate of 35.7 percent and, imports from African countries reached 15.65 billion US dollars, up by 87.1 percent. China has provided preferential tariff treatment to a number of least developed countries and relieved or exempted 172 items of debts of 38 Asian and African countries with a total volume of RMB 13.778 billion. Along with its development, China will expand and deepen its mutually beneficial cooperation with Asian and African countries and increase its assistance to the underdeveloped countries in Asia and Africa.
Facts show that China cannot develop in isolation and the world needs China to achieve global prosperity. I am firmly convinced that a stable, open and prosperous China which adheres to its road of peaceful development will surely contribute more to world peace and common development.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
To build and develop a new type of strategic partnership between Asia and Africa is the common cause of all countries in the two continents. China will, as always, do its utmost to strengthen Asian-African friendship and solidarity and intensify all-round cooperation between us. We are ready to work with other countries in Asia and Africa to carry on the Bandung spirit and contribute to the continuous progress in Asia and Africa.