H.E. Mr. CHENG XUEYUAN, the Ambassador of China to Sri Lanka states that, Since March 2018, the US Trump administration has unilaterally adopted a number of trade protection measures, which might trigger a global trade war that would affect the whole world. These dangerous measures of unilateralism and protectionism are very likely to seriously damage the global economy that is undergoing a difficult recovery, impacting on everyone, in one way or the other. From a deeper perspective, how countries around the world respond to these challenges is a matter of principle: whether or not we will follow international trade rules, defend the multilateral commercial system, and promote economic globalization? We once again stand at the crossroads of human history, and have a major choice to make between openness and isolation, between progress and retreat.
At this important moment of the future of mankind, President Xi Jinping delivered a keynote speech at the Boao Forum for Asia Annual Conference on April 10th 2018, and gave a firm answer of the Communist Party and the Government of China to this question. In his speech, President Xi reviewed the achievements of China’s reform and opening up for the last 40 years, and pointed out a most valuable inspiration: Any country or nation wishing to achieve rejuvenation must follow the trend of the history and times in their pursuit of progress and development. Just as an ancient Chinese classic teaches that heaven has its own law and those who embrace it will prosper.
President Xi highlighted that we live at a time with an overwhelming trend toward peace and cooperation, openness and connectivity, reform and innovation. Reliance on cold-war and zero-sum mentality looks even more out of place in such times. Openness leads to progress while seclusion leaves one behind. With the future in mind, we should stay committed to build an open global economy, uphold the multilateral trading system, and jointly make economic globalization more open, inclusive, balanced and beneficial to all. At the end of the speech, President Xi reaffirmed that China would advance reform and opening-up, and announced measures for further measures in that direction, including broadening market access, improving investment environment, strengthening intellectual property rights protection, and expanding imports from foreign countries.
This is the experience of China’s 40 years of reform and opening up, and also a strategic choice made by the Chinese Communist Party and the Chinese government for the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation and the future of human society. China would always stay determined to build world peace, contribute to global prosperity and uphold the international order.
Facing the US Trump administration’s attempt to unilaterally wage a trade war against China, Beijing has taken firm countermeasures in the first place. China’s position on this issue is very clear: It neither wants a trade war nor willing to fight a trade war. But if a country insists to provoke one, China will follow suit to the very end, taking all necessary measures to defend its rights and interests, and safeguard the rules-based international trading system.
It is gratifying to note that more and more countries, including Europe, Japan, India, and Singapore etc., choose to support trade liberalization and economic globalization in various ways. At the same time, many insightful people from the US political, business and academic community also came forward to explicitly oppose trade protectionism. It fully demonstrates that economic globalization is still the trend in the world, and the “isolated island” of protectionism will eventually be abandoned by this wave.
Both China and Sri Lanka have benefited from WTO and the global trade rules, which have contributed to China’s reform and opening up, and also made Sri Lanka a jewel in the Indian Ocean. Sri Lanka, with its unique geographical location, has always been actively participating in economic globalization. Under the guidance of the important consensus reached by the leaders of our two countries, the framework of the Belt and Road Initiative, and the tide of economic globalization, Sino-Sri Lanka pragmatic cooperation has developed rapidly. The comprehensive development project of the Hambantota Port has proceeded smoothly and Sri Lanka has added a new important portal to the outside world. The construction of the Port City Colombo is steadily progressing day by day, on which many overseas investors have shown strong interest. The Economic Corridors of Colombo-Hambantota, Colombo-Kandy are also set to flourish. With all these collaborative efforts, economic development of the island nation is expected to embark on the fast track. As long as it adheres to trade liberalization and economic globalization, Sri Lanka’s great dream of becoming an important economic center in Asia would surely be realized in coming years. China is willing to work together with all countries, including Sri Lanka, to safeguard the multilateral trading system, promote further development of economic globalization, build a new form of international relations and a community of shared destiny, so as to bring greater welfare and brighter future to the people of the world.