Today, we are at the threshold of a new beginning. There is a global reset going on, with shifting priorities, new relationships, and great opportunities. And while many have decried China’s economic development as a threat, I would rather present it to all Canadians for what I truly believe it is, the strengthening of an important relationship.
For several years, there have been stumbling blocks in the path of China-Canada trade discussions. Challenges that have made doing business much more difficult. Still, bilateral trade has steadily increased, much to the benefit of our two countries. According to Statistics Canada, during the first half of 2021, trade between China and Canada grew by 19.9% year-over-year. Canada’s imports from China rose by 18.7%, and its exports to China increased by 23.2%.
China’s and Canada’s natural resources endowment and economic structures are highly complementary, and the stable development of China’s economy will further create new opportunities for Canada’s economy.
I believe mutual respect at every level will ensure mutual benefit and win-win outcomes. This is the foundation of a strong, vibrant, and mutually beneficial China-Canada relationship.
China is eager to work hand-in-hand with various economies, including Canada, to strengthen macroeconomic policy coordination under the G20 and other multilateral frameworks, and jointly facilitate steady recovery of the world economy.
China has begun its recovery after withstanding the ravages of the pandemic outbreak. In the first half of this year, China saw small, yet steady growth of its economy, continuous rebound of its production demand, and price stability. All these are positive indicators of a prosperous future.
China’s gross domestic product (GDP) increased by 12.7% year-over-year; the high-tech manufacturing industry grew rapidly; overall consumption rose by 23%, contributing 61.7% to China’s GDP growth; investment in fixed assets expanded by 12.6% year-on-year, and trade in goods went up by 27.1%; while the surveyed urban unemployment rate stood steady at 5%; and the per-capita disposable income of urban residents grew year-on-year by 12.6%.
All positive indicators but there is still much uncertainty. As variants of COVID-19 continue to evolve and vaccine distribution continues to be slower than expected worldwide, China is still facing a more severe and complex external environment. The “World Economic Outlook” issued by the International Monetary Fund in July announced that smooth and durable recovery of the global economy is not assured.
China will fully and faithfully apply new development philosophies, deepen supply-side reforms, and foster a new pattern of development to advance high-quality development. China will make cross-cycle adjustments of its macro policies, and maintain the continuity, consistency, and sustainability of those macro policies.
China is now focusing on ensuring steady employment, helping small and medium-sized enterprises as well as industries in difficulty to recover. Technological innovation will be strengthened, and resilience of the industrial and supply chain will be enhanced.
China will continue to promote higher-level opening-up, stabilize foreign trade and foreign investment, enhance the high-quality development of the joint construction of the Belt and Road Initiative, and actively participate in global economic governance. China will make co-ordinated efforts to limit carbon dioxide emissions and achieve carbon neutrality and formulate an action plan to limit carbon dioxide emissions before 2030.
But as a Chinese saying goes, “A single flower does not bring the spring.” Today, more than ever before, we are committed to working together to ensure a bright, safe and prosperous world.
Cong Peiwu is Chinese ambassador to Canada.