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Speech by Deputy Consul General Cheng Lei at the 7th China Business Conference

Speech by Deputy Consul General Cheng Lei at the 7th China Business Conference

(April, 25th, 2014, Alfred Lerner Hall, Columbia University)

Distinguished guests,

Ladies and gentlemen, friends,

Good morning. It is my pleasure to attend the 7th Annual China Business Conference at Columbia Business School. I would like to begin by extending, on behalf of the Chinese Consulate General in New York, warm congratulations on the opening of the conference.

The theme of the conference "China's Search for the Next Growth Frontier" reflects the high expectations the world has on China's economy. Due to the changing global political and economic landscapes, Asia is now home to the most dynamic and promising economies of the world, and China's growth is closely bound up with Asia and beyond.

China's government work report this year has set our growth target at 7.5%, and CPI inflation target at 3.5%. We will ensure that the registered urban unemployment rate does not rise above 4.6%, add 10 million more urban jobs and lift 10 million people in rural areas out of poverty. To keep China's economy running within a proper range is both a basic target of macro-control measures and the medium-to-long-term policy objectives.

Achieving those goals is no easy task. Frist, downward pressure still exists. The upturn of the Chinese economy is not yet on a solid footing and lacks internal impetus for growth; Second, there are some risks and challenges in the fiscal and financial areas; Third, overcapacity in some industries adds to the difficulty of our macro-control measures, and last, we are facing a daunting task to conserve energy, reduce emissions and address the severe air, water and soil pollution. These problems show the impact exerted on China by the complex international environment, and reflect the prominent challenges that China faces.

Notwithstanding, we are still confident to meet the growth targets. Currently the urban employment continues to increase, household income, corporate profits and fiscal revenue register steady growth, consumer prices remain stable, electricity consumption starts to rise, and there are positive dynamics in the economic structural adjustment. In short, the Chinese economy is on a sound track.

2014 is the first year for China to deepen reform in a comprehensive way, and reform is going to open the biggest growth frontier for China. Reform initiatives set out in the Third Plenary Session of the 18th CPC Central Committee, particularly the decision to enable the market to play a decisive role in resource allocation, and to further streamline administrative procedures and delegate power to lower levels, will further unleash the market vitality and give stronger impetus to the economic growth. In the long run, we have the capability and the right conditions to ensure the sound economic growth and bring prosperity to the rest of the world.

Ladies and gentlemen,

This year marks the 35th anniversary of China-US diplomatic relations. Over the past 35 years, the China-US relationship has moved forward despite ups and downs, and has become one of the most important and dynamic bilateral relations in the world. In June last year, President Xi Jinping and President Obama met in California and reached an important consensus on building a new model of major-country relationship featuring no conflicts or confrontation, mutual respect and win-win cooperation. We will avoid the traditional path of inevitable confrontation between major countries and blaze a new trail of cooperation. This consensus charted the course for the future growth of China-US relations and is a solemn commitment to the world. This year also witnessed many highlights in our bilateral relations, among which are the meetings between the two presidents and between the two first ladies at the same time. I don't think it was a mere coincidence, rather, it was a testimony to the vitality of our relations.

Today, China and the United States are more closely intertwined than ever before, and our converging interests far outweigh our differences. In 2013, our bilateral trade reached a record 521 billion US dollars and the US exports to China amounted to 122 billion dollars. From 2001 to 2010, the exports to China created more than three million jobs in America. By the end of 2013, our mutual investment has totaled up to 100 billion dollars. Nearly four million people traveled across the Pacific in last year alone, with two million from China to the United States. Over the last 35 years, nearly 1.5 million Chinese students have studied in America. We also maintain close communication and coordination on major regional and international issues, such as climate change, energy security, international financial stability and nuclear non-proliferation. China and the United States cannot solve all the problems of the world. But without our cooperation, I doubt that any global problem can be solved.

The reform initiatives set out in the Third Plenum will not only inject strong impetus to our own development, it will also present more opportunities to China-US cooperation. In the next five years, China will import 10 trillion US dollars worth of goods and make overseas investment totaling 500 billion US dollars. Over 400 million Chinese people will make outbound trips. A recent report sponsored by the China-U.S. Exchange Foundation predicts that China and the U.S. will become each other's largest trading partners by 2022, when China will import 450 billion dollars worth of goods from the US and create 2.5 million jobs in America.

We have every reason to believe that this new model of major-country relationship featuring no conflicts or confrontation, mutual respect and win-win cooperation will bring more opportunities and prosperity to our two countries and the rest of the world.

Ladies and gentlemen,

If the China-US relationship is a building, then people-to-people exchanges are the ground base of that building. The closer friendship our peoples enjoy, the stronger relationship our governments will have. I want to close by thanking all the friends here for your care and support for China-US relationship. With you expertise and cross-culture experiences, I believe you can help find the new growth frontier for China's economy and China-US relations.

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