By WANG Shouwen
WANG Shouwen is China’s Vice-Minister of Commerce. Following are extensive excerpts from his address at the 17th session of the UNIDO General Conference ‘Partnering for Impact: Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals’ in Vienna on November 27, 2017 – after Li Yong was re-appointed for a second term (2017-2021) as the Director General of the Organization. – The Editor
VIENNA (IDN) – China appreciates the significant achievements UNIDO has made during the past 4 years under the guidance of DG Li Yong. ISID [Inclusive and Sustainable Industrial Development] was incorporated into 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. PCP [the Programme for Country Partnership] received full recognition of member countries. UNIDO becomes the leading agency in UN System of implementing the Third Industrial Development Decade for Africa. With its active participation in mechanisms such as G20 and the BRICS, UNIDO has remarkably increased its influence and visibility.
I would also like to congratulate Mr. Li Yong for his re-appointment as DG of UNIDO, and would like to thank member states for your support to China’s candidacy. China will continue to work with all member states and support UNIDO’s work in promoting global industrialization.
Industry plays a crucial role in modern economy, and is a pillar in the national economy in many countries. As a developing country, China attaches great importance to industrialization. In the past 40 years of reform and opening up, China has focused on its industrial development. In the meantime, we have actively utilized foreign investment to develop our processing and manufacturing industries. Today, China has emerged as the world’s largest manufacturing powerhouse. An industrial path with Chinese characteristics has been rolled out. Here, I would like to share with you some of our experience and ideas on that.
First, we have adhered to the opening-up policy. Against the backdrop of economic globalization, we are by no means capable of shutting our doors and pursuing development. To the contrary, we have given full play to the international market and resources. Introduction of foreign investment at a large scale, features prominently in China’s industrialization. At present, foreign-funded enterprises contribute nearly one third of China’s industrial value-added. A large number of multinational companies have come to operate in China and expedite China’s integration into the international production system. In that process, they have also been rewarded with substantial returns.
Second, the role of industrial parks has been well utilized. Inevitably, developing countries are faced with daunting challenges in the industrialization process. China’s approach is to designate an earmarked area of land, and to apply to it special and favorable policies. We start with a few, and expand and spread to many different types of industrial parks based on successful pilots, with a view to fostering the development of the entire industrial system. Currently, China has 219 state-level economic and technological development zones. They contribute to one tenth of the country’s GDP and one fifth of its foreign trade. These zones have played a vanguard role in China’s industrialization.
Thirdly, infrastructure construction is regarded as priority for industrial development. As the Chinese saying goes, ‘build the road before getting rich’. Without a sound infrastructure, industrial development cannot be achieved. China attaches great importance to infrastructure construction. We are constantly improving the infrastructure of high-speed railways, highways, ports, airports, electricity and logistics. These efforts have not only paved ways for our industrialization, but also laid a foundation for our integration into the globalization process.
Fourthly, a sound business environment is of equal importance. We need both hardware and software to attract foreign capital. Over the past years, China has placed great emphasis on improving the business environment and laws and regulations. We have strengthened our efforts in IPR protection and enhanced public services. By doing so, we are able to generate a sense of confidence and security for foreign enterprises operating in China.
Fifthly, the policy of going global and conducting international cooperation is also important. China promotes the construction of the Belt and Road Initiative. By encouraging enterprises to invest abroad and undertake international cooperation in production capacity, we have not only unleashed their potential for development, but also enhanced local employment and boosted local industrialization. At present, Chinese enterprises have set up 99 economic and trade cooperation zones abroad, with a total investment of 32.4 billion U.S. dollars. About 247,000 local employment opportunities have been generated. More than 1,100 infrastructure projects have been implemented in Africa. Industrial parks like the Ethiopian Industrial Park, have helped the industrial progress in many African countries.
The 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China was successfully concluded in October. The Congress has laid out the strategic plan for building a moderately prosperous society and a modernized socialist country in an all-round way. This is of critical and profound importance to the development of China. The Congress called for expedited efforts in building a manufacturing powerhouse in China. In the future, we will speed up industrialization in the spirit of the 19th CPC National Congress.
First, we will continue to adhere to the path of Opening-up and Development. China will not close its door to the world; to the contrary, we will accelerate the process of opening up. We will significantly improve market access, open further the service sector to the outside world, protect the legitimate rights and interests of foreign investors, attract more businesses to invest and start business in China. By doing so, we will be able to integrate China’s industrial system into the world in a deeper and broader manner.
Second, we will accelerate the upgrading of industrial structure. By expediting the development of advanced manufacturing, we will promote the in-depth integration between the Internet, big data, artificial intelligence and the real economy. We will also support the optimization and upgrading of traditional industries, accelerate the development of modern service industries, so as to lift the industry toward the middle and high end of the global value chain.
Thirdly, we are determined to continue to expand global partnership. In the next 15 years, China is expected to import 24 trillion U.S. dollars of goods, attract 2 trillion U.S. dollars of foreign investment and invest equally in other countries. China will hold the first China International Import Expo (CIIE) in November next year in Shanghai. This is a major move to facilitate trade flow. We take the initiative to open up the market and build an international cooperation platform. We welcome all countries to actively participate in the Forum and have a share of the Chinese market.
China and UNIDO have engaged in substantial cooperation. In the coming four years, China will make a contribution of 24 million U.S. dollars to UNIDO. We will continue to support UNIDO’s various approaches including the PCP, so as to help promote industrial development in member countries. We call on all member states to act together, forge a new partnership on industrial development, and make greater contribution to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. [IDN-InDepthNews – 29 November 2017]
Photo: WANG Shouwen, China’s Vice-Minister of Commerce. Credit: The Chinese Ministry of Commerce.
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