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Speech delivered by Hu Jintao, President of the People’s Republica of China at Welcome Dinner Hosted by the Sweden-China Trade Council in Stockholm, Sweden, on June 10th 2007

Dear Mr. Bo Landin,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Dear Friends,

It gives me great pleasure this evening to meet you, Swedish business leaders who are committed to building strong business ties with China, and address the subject of strengthening China-Sweden business ties in this beautiful city of Stockholm. To start with, please allow me to extend, on behalf of my colleagues and in my own name, our heartfelt thanks to the Sweden-China Trade Council for hosting the dinner. I’d also like to express, on behalf of the Chinese Government and people, sincere appreciation to the Council for its longstanding contribution to promoting the business and trade relations between our two countries.

This is my first visit to Sweden. During this brief visit, I have been deeply impressed by the beautiful landscape, vibrant economy and hardworking people of Sweden and particularly the friendship of the Swedish people to the Chinese people.

Despite the great distance between the two countries, the Chinese and Swedish peoples have a long history of exchanges. Our friendly association goes back to the 17th century. Gothenburg, sailing between our two countries, served as a bridge linking our two peoples. Swedish explorer Sven Hedin discovered the ancient city of Loulan, and Swedish archeologist Johan Gunnar Andersson unearthed the remains of Yangshao culture and Majiayao culture, writing an important page in the history of archaeological studies in China. Sweden was the first western country to establish diplomatic relations with the People’s Republic of China 57 years ago. Thanks to our joint efforts over the past half century and more, China-Sweden relationship has matured. It is flourishing and is as good as it has ever been.

The expanding business and trade ties are an important aspect of China-Sweden relations. The two-way trade volume reached US$6.73 billion in 2006, almost doubling that of 2000. China has been Sweden’s largest trading partner in Asia for four years running. There are active mutual investments and technological exchanges, covering shipping, telecommunications, machinery, light industry, environmental protection and many other areas. There were 844 Swedish investment projects in China by April 2007, with a total paid-in capital of US$1.39 billion. China has signed 1138 contracts worth US$10.2 billion to import Swedish technologies and equipment. Over ten Chinese companies are making investment or doing business here in Sweden. These achievements would not have been possible without the unremitting efforts made by all of you present and the business communities of our two countries.

Ladies and Gentlemen,
Dear Friends,

Since the launch of the reform and opening up program in 1978, China has rapidly grown its economy, boosted its productivity and increased the wellbeing of its people. Between 1978 and 2006, China’s GDP jumped from US$216.5 billion to US$2.6269 trillion, growing at an average annual rate of 9.6%. And China’s imports and exports soared from US$20.6 billion to US$1.7607 trillion, growing by 17% annually. China’s economy has grown at an annual rate of over 10% since 2002. China’s continued and fast economic development has become a major driving force behind the stable growth of the global economy. It has both improved the lives of the Chinese people and offered more development opportunities to the world.

At the same time, we are keenly aware that China has a large population and weak economic foundation. Its development is uneven, and the living standards for its people are still low. China remains the largest developing country in the world, and it needs to make long-term and hard efforts to modernize itself. The most pressing task facing China is to grow its economy and increase people’s welfare. The message that I wish to send to you is this: China is firmly committed to peaceful development. It concentrates its efforts on development at home and endeavours to uphold world peace and common development internationally.

To pursue peaceful development fully accords with China’s national spirit fostered in the course of development of its culture over the past several thousand years. It is in keeping with the lofty ideal of the Chinese people that one should love and value peace. And it conforms to the trends of the times and human society. China must pursue peaceful development if it is to achieve modernization. What China needs most is an international environment of peace. We strive to develop ourselves by upholding world peace and to promote world peace through our development.

Regarding China’s economic development, I want to stress the following three points:

First, China is committed to sustainable development. We will continue to follow the scientific thinking on development that is people-oriented and calls for comprehensive, balanced and sustainable development. We will adhere to the basic state policy of resources conservation and environmental protection. We will pursue a new type of industrialization, adjust the economic structure, speed up changing the pattern of economic growth and boost our capacity for innovation. We will work vigorously to develop a circular economy and build a resource-conserving and environment-friendly society. We have set the following targets for the period between the end of 2005 and 2010: reduce energy intensity by 20%, cut discharge of main pollutants by 10% and increase forest cover from 18.2% to 20%. By making these efforts, we will make new contribution to the global response to environmental pollution, energy shortage and climate change.

Second, China will continue its strategy of win-win opening up. This is another basic policy that China will continue to follow in the years to come, and we will continue to expand our economic cooperation and trade with other countries and regions. Since it became a member of the WTO in 2001, China has imported goods worth close to US$500 billion annually, creating about 10 million jobs for countries and regions involved. China has fulfilled its WTO entry commitments in good faith. China’s current tariff level is 9.9%, much lower than the world’s average level of 39%. As China opens itself in more areas, it will create increasing opportunities to foreign businesses.

Third, China is committed to protecting intellectual property rights. To protect IPR serves the common interests of all countries. It also meets China’s need to open itself wider, improve its investment environment and enhance its own capacity for innovation. China will continue to improve its laws and regulations on IPR protection and will severely penalize IPR violations. We will make the whole society more aware of the need to protect IPR and provide legal protection for the lawful rights and interests of IPR holders in China.
China is going through a new round of economic growth, with accelerating industrialization, urbanization and modernization. China’s market is fast expanding, unlocking huge potential for development. China will continue to boost domestic demand. It has a lot to do to speed up industrial development, upgrade infrastructure, strengthen environmental protection and improve its social programs. China is expediting the development of new and high-tech industries and will further open up its service sectors, such as banking, insurance, securities, distribution and accounting. China will continue to increase import. Its total import in the coming five years will exceed 4 trillion US dollars. China’s development will create huge business opportunities to Sweden and other countries.

Ladies and Gentlemen,
Dear friends,

The Nordic countries are noted for their love for peace, their commitment to development and cooperation, their active participation in international affairs and the generous assistance they provide to developing countries. Chin appreciates the important role played by the Nordic countries in international affairs and will continue to work with you to uphold world peace and promote common development.

Sweden and other Nordic countries have over the years followed development models suited to your national conditions and made remarkable achievements in many areas. In particular, in the face of deepening economic globalization, the Nordic countries have made timely adjustments to industrial structures and vigorously promoted scientific innovation and the development of knowledge-based economy, thus leading the world in international competitiveness and innovation, and you have state-of-the-art technologies and products for telecommunications, energy and environmental protection. There is therefore a broad prospect for China and the Nordic countries to draw on each other’s strengths and enhance mutually beneficial cooperation. I hope that the business communities of the Nordic countries will seize the opportunity to increase your share of the Chinese market. To strengthen our business ties, our two sides may take the following steps:

Increase trade and improve trade structure, enhance mechanisms for trade cooperation and dialogue to create a more enabling and efficient trading environment and enhance our cooperation, particularly in scientific innovation and services trade.

Strengthen cooperation in new energy and environmental protection, especially in raising energy efficiency in the construction sector and in hybrid energy and clean energy development.

Encourage technological cooperation between our small and medium sized enterprises, set up platforms for them to increase business contacts and encourage them to share distribution channels and jointly develop products.

Take the Beijing Olympic Games and the Shanghai World Expo as a good opportunity to expand our cooperation in the construction, use and management of venues and facilities.

The Sweden-China Trade Council has made outstanding contribution to boosting our bilateral trade and business ties in the past more than 20 years. Many of its members, such as Ericsson, Volvo, Tetra Pak, Electrolux and Ikea, are successful in China. They have not only expanded market share in China and strengthened bilateral trade and business cooperation but also brought much benefit to our peoples.

Businesses are the main participants in our business and trade exchanges and a major force driving the growth of China-Sweden relations. The Chinese Government supports mutually beneficial cooperation between our companies at various levels and in multiple areas. You are Swedish business leaders with rich international experience. It is my sincere hope that the business communities of our two countries will join hands and break new ground in China-Sweden trade and business cooperation.

Thank you all!

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