On 16 March, Ambassador Ma Keqing was invited to deliver a speech at the " the 20th Anniversary of the Association of Young Filipino-Chinese Entrepreneurs " held in the Peninsula Manila. In her speech, Ambassador Ma Keqing recalled the great achievements of China's economic development and fruitful outcomes of trade and economic cooperation between China and the Philippines in 2011, reiterated China's good willing to enhance bilateral trade and economic cooperation as well as mutual understanding, clarified Chinese government's economic policy and highlighted the potential of China-Philippine trade and economic cooperation.
Ambassador Ma Keqing's speech is specified as follows:
Chairman Jeffrey Ng and President Roy Chua,
Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,
It's my honor and pleasure to deliver a speech on this occasion of commemorating the 20th Anniversary of the Association of Young Filipino-Chinese Entrepreneurs.
As I understand, during the last 20 years, the Association has been engaged in promoting interaction between Chinese traditional culture and that of the Philippine's, as well as in encouraging young entrepreneurs to do business in both countries. I believe your endeavor has been widely recognized and appreciated. So please accept my congratulations.
Today I would like to take this opportunity to share with you some updates on China's economy as well as the China-Philippine trade and economic cooperation.
In 2011, China's GDP reached 7.5 trillion US dollars a 9.2% growth in real terms. This achievement has not come by easily against the background of the unstable and downward global economy.
For the year 2012, the Chinese government has set the target of GDP growth of 7.5%. Compared with the average 9.7% annual growth of the last 30 years, 7.5% is indeed quite modest. What does it imply? Is there going to be a low speed development trend or even a "hard landing" in China's economy?
The "Fine Turning" at the GDP growth is necessary to help transform the pattern of economic development, which aims at improving the sustainability and quality of development in the long run. A more moderate GDP growth should promote badly needed economic restructuring, so as to enable the country to focus on growth that is less polluting and resource wasting.
In a longer perspective, the dynamics for China's economic growth is still strong and should not be underestimated.
From the demand side, China is on a fast track process of industrializing and urbanizing. China's urban population has just surpassed the rural population. Over the next decades, migration on a huge sale from rural to urban areas will continue. This will create enormous demand for investment in housing and infrastructure.
China's internal economic imbalances among regions offer significant room for economic growth. Over the past three decades we have seen emerging growth centers become effective drivers of investment and consumption. One of the biggest potential contributors to China's growth will also be the huge potential of its consumer spending. Rising level of income will give an impetus of domestic consumption.
Individual purchasing power in China is shifting from "survival consumption" such as food and clothing toward more diverse needs including housing, transport and education, that will provide more market opportunities to manufacturers and service providers inside and outside China.
From the supply side China is now a capital- rich society. China will continue to have a deep pool of labor for a long time to come. An ageing population can pose a challenge. It will worsen the dependency ratio and erode China's "population bonus". But as government invests more in education and skills training, the human capital will have a greater potential to rise and will be a new driver of economic growth. Moreover China has a very high saving rate, and the government's macro policy is both problem-focused and flexible.
Above said leads me to my next point. What opportunities China's economic development would provide for the rest of the world, including the Philippines?
China is committed to accelerating the opening up policy and a win-win strategy. China's 10 years of WTO membership saw its annual imports growth by nearly 100 billion US dollars. According to World Bank, China's contribution to global GDP growth increased from 4.6% in 2003 to 14.5% in 2009.
China's development also contributes a lot to the regional development. China is now ASEAN's largest trading partner. Last year trade between China and ASEAN countries topped US $ 350 billion.
At the same time, the Chinese government encourages Chinese companies to invest abroad. By 2011, Chinese investors had set up 18,000 businesses in 178 countries and regions. This added up to an investment value of 322 billion US dollars and created more than 1 million jobs for the local people.
During the current 12th Five Years Plan period from 2011 to 2015, the total value of domestic consumption is expected to reach US $ 5 trillion, China's domestic market will become one of the largest in the world. Its total imports are designed to surpass US $ 8 trillion, and its outbound investments will exceed US$ 500 billion.
Over the years, trade and economic cooperation between China and the Philippines has seen a steady and robust growth. In 1975 when diplomatic relation were established, trade value was merely $ 76 million, 10 years later, the figure was $ 400 million, in 2000 it expanded to $3 billion. And in 2011, that soared to $ 32.2 billion, a 16.2% growth from the previous year. We are also pleased to note the increasing two-way investment and economic cooperation.
Having said that, I do see great potential still there for us to tap in our trade and economic cooperation. There is certainly convergence between the China's economic endeavor and the economic drive of the Philippine government.
During President Aquino's visit to China last year, the two governments concluded a Five-Year Development Program for Trade and Economic Cooperation, which asserts that the two sides will work more closely with each other, so as to reach an annual amount of 60 billion US dollars bilateral trade and at least 1.5 billion US dollars accumulative two-way direct investment between 2012 and 2016. The target is ambitious and encouraging. To be materialized, it calls upon people like you present here to work even harder.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
This year and year of 2013 have been designated Years of Friendly Exchanges between China and the Philippines. A series of activities and events are being planned to foster friendly sentiments and mutual understanding between our two peoples and two countries. We sincerely invite and encourage each and every one of you, young Filipino-Chinese entrepreneurs, to participate and make your own contribution.
Thank you and Mabuhay!