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Speech by Consul General ZHANG Ping at CGCC Annual Gala Event
(February 20, 2019)

It gives me great pleasure to attend 2019 Annual Gala dinner of China General Chamber of Commerce-Los Angeles (CGCC-LA). First of all, please allow me to extend New Year’s greetings to everyone present here, wishing you great happiness, great prosperity and all the success in the Year of the Pig.

Over the past year, CGCC-LA has done a good job in serving its members, fulfilling its social responsibilities and promoting China-US business cooperation. Many of its member companies have overcome the difficulty caused by the tariff hike and the change of the business environment and continue to support the local economic and social development by retaining the size of its local workforce and keeping the normal business operation. What is worth mentioning is that last year CGCC La sponsored the visit to China by Hamilton High School Jazz Ensemble, which enabled these American youngsters to present their talents to the Chinese people. I am pleased to note the presence of the school’s Jazz Ensemble at tonight event. I commend CGCC LA and its member companies for their achievement and wish to thank in particular their support to the youth exchange between our two countries.

Yesterday was the Lantern Festival, another important celebration event in the Chinese Lunar New Year season. According to the tradition, Lantern Festival marks the end of new year celebration and the start of new year’s work. For China and the US, this year starts in a bit unusual way. With the bilateral economic and trade talks dominating the bilateral agenda, the negotiators of both sides had to sacrifice their vacation time for the greater cause of China-US relationship. The good news is that after the recent two rounds of talks before and after the Chinese Lunar New Year, positive progress has been achieved with principle consensus reached on major issues. Both sides agreed to step up their work within the time limit for consultations set by the heads of both countries. In the next two days, Vice Premier Liu He, who is in capacity as President Xi Jingping’s special envoy and chief of the Chinese side of the China-US comprehensive economic dialogue, will hold another round of talks with US Trade Representative Amb. Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Mnuchin in Washington DC. We hope the next round of talks will produce more positive outcomes.

It is worth to note that the first round of China-US economic and trade talks also took place around last year’s Lantern Festival. Over the past year, six rounds of talks have been held. For each round of talks, when there was good news, the market would rise. When there was no progress, the market would fluctuate. This again proves the fact that our economies are closely interconnected and trade war produces no winner. The only viable way to solve the current trade friction is through dialogue and consultation.

California enjoys close economic and trade ties with China. China is California's largest trading partner, the third largest export market for goods, and the fourth largest export market for service. Trade in goods with China accounted for nearly 30% of California's total foreign trade. Over the last decade or so, California has attracted nearly 30 billion USD of Chinese investment, including the investment from companies like BYD, International Vitamin Group, Greenland and many others. They become an important force that drives local economic and social developments. Given the close economic and trade ties between China and California, the wellbeing of China-US relations will have a direct impact on the economic wellbeing of the State. For the business community in California, it has a vital stake to see China-US economic and trade relations remain stable and the current frictions get resolved as early as possible.

This year marks the 40th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and the US. Over the past four decades, despite various ups and downs, twists and turns, the bilateral relationship has achieved historic progress. On the national level, China and the US have become the largest trading partners and important investment destinations of each other. On the sub national level, China has become a major partner of trade and investment of many states. Dividends of this relationship are tangible and enormous, which have gone far beyond the imagination of the forerunners who opened the door of China-US relationship.

The four decade long development of China-US relationship tells us that China and the US stand to gain from cooperation and lose from confrontation. Cooperation benefits both sides, while confrontation makes no one a winner. What China-US relationship has achieved in the last four decade is the result of generations of efforts and need to be cherished and further developed. There are far more common interests between China and the US than differences, far more cooperation opportunities than frictions. As the two largest economies in the world, China and the US complement each other in many ways. It is in the fundamental interests of our two countries and peoples that our two countries remain as partners for cooperation rather than rivals for supremacy.

Today the China-US relationship has once again come to another crossroad. Under the current circumstances where China-US relationship is facing some serious challenges, we need to make joint efforts to take this relationship forward in the right direction. We also need our business community to play its role as maintainer and promoter of China-US economic and trade ties.

China’s development is solely for the purpose of providing a better life for its people. It constitutes no threat to any other countries. On the contrary, it provides great opportunity to the development of the world. China has now contributed nearly 30% of the world’s economic growth. It is estimated that China will become the largest market with an annual import of 2 trillion USD within the next five years.

To ensure a sound development of China-US relationship, we should view China’s development in an objective way. We need to abandon the old zero-sum mentality and pursue a path of common development through win-win cooperation. We should open door wider to each other rather than setting up barriers. We should make ourselves more competitive rather than preventing others from being competitive.

We should adhere to the principles of equality, mutual benefit and openness, and provide each other’s enterprises with an open, transparent, fair business environment in accordance with the non-discrimination principles of the WTO. In recent years, Chinese government has adopted a series of measures to open up the market, and protect the intellectual property rights. We require Chinese companies to operate in compliance with laws and regulations both at home and abroad. Meanwhile, we also hope other countries can provide a fair and friendly business environment where no Chinese companies, Chinese investment or Chinese products are treated differently simply because they are Chinese.

We need to maintain the robust momentum of sub national exchange and cooperation by further strengthening the economic and trade ties and people to people connections. California is the fifth largest economy in the world and has many niche advantages in cooperating with China. Los Angeles will host the 2028 Olympic Games which provides many opportunities for bilateral cooperation. We encourage Chinese companies to reach out to their local partners to explore more business opportunities and contribute more to the local community. We also encourage the US companies to invest more in China, to export more of their products to China and expand their business presence in China.

In November last year, China successfully hosted the first China International Import Expo (CIIE). California's Qualcomm, AECOM, Herbalife were among the 200 US companies that participated in the Expo. This year China will continue to hold the second CIIE and we welcome more Southern Californian companies to participate.

In this new year of 2019, I hope CGCC La will continue to play its part in promoting greater understanding as well as closer economic and trade ties between our two peoples and countries and contribute more to the local community. The Chinese Consulate will work closely with the business community in our consular district to further expand and deepen sub national exchange and cooperation.

This year, the consulate will host the 4th China-California Business Summit in June in collaboration with the Californian State government and local business institutions. We look forward to your continuous support and active participation. We have the confidence that with your support, we can make further progress in China-US relationship.

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