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Speech by Ambassador Liu Guangyuan at Panel "The Future of Cooperation between Poland and China" of the 10th European Economic Conference
( May 15, 2018 )

Mr. Pyffel, Distinguished Guests,

Ladies and Gentlemen, Dear Friends,

Good morning! It is a great pleasure to join today’s event. European Economic Conference is the most renowned economic forum in Central and Eastern Europe, where brilliant minds gather with sparkling ideas. It offers a great occasion to share insights into Europe and interpret world economy. As this particular panel is designed for the future of China-Poland cooperation, we can see the interests and expectation attached to this bilateral relationship. I believe today’s “brainstorm” here would contribute valuable viewpoints to the future of China-Poland relations.

Ladies and Gentlemen, Dear Friends,

China and Poland enjoy time-honored friendship. For the past 69 years since the establishment of diplomatic relations, in spite of huge changes in international and national conditions, our relations have stood the test of time, become ever stronger, and should be cherished all the more. I have been in Poland for less than 2 months as the 19th Ambassador of PRC to Poland, but can already feel the hospitality of its people, the profoundness of its history and culture, and the vitality of its development. I can say that we’re at a historic good moment for upgrading our cooperation which already has a solid foundation laid over the course of years. Now there are 3 distinct features of our cooperation:

First, it has a positive and clear direction with more strategic importance. Between 2015-2016, our presidents exchanged visits within half a year. China and Poland established Comprehensive Strategic Partnership, started a new era of bilateral relations with friendship of higher standing. At bilateral level, we actively promote practical cooperation for our peoples’ interests by seizing opportunities from the Belt and Road Initiative and “16+1” format. At global level, our bilateral cooperation adds growth points to China-EU partnerships of peace, growth, reform and civilization, and contributes to world peace and prosperity.

Second, it has an expanding scope with more notable growth. Over the past years, our cooperation has made strides in many areas such as trade, investment, finance and connectivity. Our trade has been growing at an average annual rate of 8% and exceeded 20 billion US dollars last year. China has made breakthroughs in greenfield investment in Poland. A number of Chinese banks have set up branches in Poland, funding Polish economy. What’s more, we now have a traffic layout across sea, land and air with more shipping, direct flights, and freight trains. As our cooperation area expands, we’ll see better prospects with our market potential further released.

Third, it has many mechanisms with more supporting facilities. China and Poland not only have bilateral platforms such as the Intergovernmental Cooperation Committee, Strategic Dialogue, and Local Cooperation Forum, but also have an increasing number of multilateral cooperation channels under the Belt and Road Initiative and “16+1” frameworks. Poland is among the first countries to sign the Belt and Road cooperation agreement with China and is a founding member of AIIB. As to “16+1 cooperation”, it starts from Poland, and has its Joint Chamber of Commerce, Contact Mechanism for Investment Promotion Agencies and Secretariat for Maritime Issues established in Warsaw. In addition, there are more and more facilities for financing or facilitation of trade and personnel exchanges.

Ladies and Gentlemen, Dear Friends,

This year marks the 40th anniversary of China's Reform and Opening-up Policy. Poland will celebrate the centennial of regaining independence. Both countries are at a key stage of development, faced with common tasks of keeping economy growth and improving people’s livelihood. Looking into the future with current realities in mind, China will comprehensively deepen reforms, strive to modernize its system and capacity for governance, pursue with firmness of purpose the vision of innovative, coordinated, green, and open development that is for everyone, and ensure that new industrialization, IT application, urbanization, and agricultural modernization go hand in hand. We will continue to open up to the world and adopt a series of major measures. For example, we will significantly broaden market access, create a more attractive investment environment, strengthen protection of intellectual property rights, and take the initiative to expand imports. We will actively participate in and promote economic globalization, and develop an open economy of higher standards.

Poland is actively carrying out its “Responsible Development Plan”, exploring new economic models, encouraging sustainable development and innovation, and stepping up regional and international cooperation.

From these perspectives we see that the development of China, Poland and our relations are facing new historic opportunities which create space and potential for cooperation. China and Poland, the “Dragon” and the “Eagle”, to my point of view, can learn from each other, leverage each other’s resources, and seek development together.

Ladies and Gentlemen, Dear Friends,

There is a Chinese saying: a nine-storeyed terrace begins with heaps of earth. It will be a long career to cultivate higher, wider, and deeper cooperation. As to some structural and short-term issues in our current cooperation, we must be pragmatic and inclusive, seek cooperation by opening up more, and strive for win-win results through cooperation. Here I would like to share some of my humble observations on strengthening cooperation in future.

First, leverage Belt and Road opportunities. China presents this initiative as a public good conducive to international cooperation. China and Poland have the consensus, complementary strengths, and great potential to cooperate. Now it is imperative to translate the willingness into actions and achieve “early harvest” in policy communication, infrastructure connectivity, and financial integration. For this purpose our governments need to quickly put forth more explicit and detailed guidance for implementing the consensus, while our local provinces make use of their flexibility to transform state policies into tangible business.

Second, reinforce economic and trade cooperation. China understands Poland’s concern over trade deficits. We never seek a surplus, instead, we’re trying our best to promote a more balanced trade through dynamic growth. We hope that Polish trade promotion agencies and businesses could survey Chinese market deeper, come up with more ideas to promote quality Polish products with skillful marketing. With joint efforts, Polish apples, dairy products and other trade goods have successively landed in Chinese market. From the Chinese side, we will continue to offer effective platforms to match supply and demand. Each year we host the 16+1 Investment and Trade Expo in Ningbo of China’s Zhejiang Province. We also have bilateral Forum on Local Cooperation held in either country. These all provide Polish companies with opportunities to open the Chinese market. Moreover, in November this year, China will hold the first China International Import Expo in Shanghai, a tailor-made fair for countries interested in expanding exports to China like Poland. We invite Polish companies to take an active part in the exhibition through PAIH, the Polish coordinator. As a final note, international trade is essentially a reciprocal business activity, and a deficit is mostly caused by differences of industrial and market structures. A part of Polish imports from China are used for transit trade or processing and re-export. In this sense our trade also helps consolidate Poland’s competitiveness and position as a processing and manufacturing center in EU.

Third, promote project cooperation. Big projects could serve as strong engines for a rapid increase in cooperation. They could also be good examples with spillover effects. But usually a big project has a long construction period, needs large investment, thus requires relevant partners to jointly explore, nurture and operate it. Our state leaders have already set a direction for cooperation in transportation, logistics, infrastructure and other areas. What we need most is to fasten our pace at working levels, in both government and business, to form detailed ideas and plans, and to provide supporting tools, so as to push for early completion of projects. For example, Poland decides to build a central transportation hub, and some Chinese companies are interested in cooperation on it. Now we have to begin our discussion on pragmatic issues like how to offer concrete supporting policies, how to solve financing issues, and how to fit our business and technological standards, in order to pave the way for project cooperation in a quick manner.

Fourth, create a cooperative atmosphere. People-to-people bond is the foundation for cooperation between countries. For China and Poland, we’re proud of a fine tradition of friendship, but there is also a lack of understanding of each other’s national conditions and development process, in particular the differences in our systems, markets and cultures. As perception gaps could deter or misguide cooperation, we need to encourage our societies to have more comprehensive, objective and in-depth understandings of each other. We shall increase educational, cultural, thinktank and media exchanges, to help place our cooperation on a sound footing of faith and confidence.

Ladies and gentlemen, Dear Friends,

As another Chinese saying goes, even mountains and seas cannot distance people with common aspirations. Though thousands of miles away, China and Poland have common grounds and interests for close cooperation. We are bound to be friends of shared aspiration and efforts. Together with my colleagues in the Embassy and my Polish friends, I will make every effort to create opportunities and favorable conditions for a faster and further cooperation between our two countries.

Finally, I wish the forum a full success! Thank you for your attention!

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