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Statement at the General Debate of UNCTAD XIII by H.E. Mr. YU Jianhua, the Head of the Chinese Delegation


Doha, Qatar

April 22, 2012

Mr. Chairman,

Let me start by extending, on behalf of the Chinese delegation, warm congratulations on the opening of the 13th conference of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development. I also want to congratulate you, Mr. Chairman, on your election and express my appreciation to the Qatar government for its thoughtful arrangement and hospitality.

Mr. Chairman,

The world economy is undergoing profound and complex adjustments and changes. The financial crisis is still festering, turbulences have continued in some regions, and the sovereign debt crisis alarm in some countries is far from being lifted. Major developed economies are working hard on debt and deficit reduction and structural reforms, but they still face multiple challenges in promoting growth and cutting unemployment. Fluctuations in the major reserve currencies, and volatility in commodity prices caused by quantitative easing, as well as a number of other problems, have added to the difficulty of a full recovery of the world economy. In the meantime, despite encouraging progress on the Millennium Development Goals in recent years, the international community still faces pressing challenges to achieve the targets on time and in full. According to the World Bank, approximately 1 billion people will remain in extreme poverty by 2015.

In face of these difficulties and challenges, we find it imperative to realize common development. China believes that the main task in front of us now is to maintain stability and growth. The theme of this conference, “Development-centered globalization: Towards inclusive and sustainable growth and development”, is therefore highly relevant. We hope to achieve strong and sustainable growth in economies around the world by exploring ways to establish a fairer, more just, inclusive and orderly global economic governance regime. To this purpose, China presents the following proposals.

First, centering on development, and promoting inclusive and sustainable growth.

The imbalances in the world economy boil down to, first and foremost, the imbalances in development. Globalization should focus on development and enhance the mutual understanding, coordination, and support between developed and developing countries, so as to narrow the North-South development gap in the process of global economic recovery and progress. The global economic governance structure should mirror shifts in the world economic landscape, and increase the representation and say of developing countries. Developing countries should bear international obligations consistent with their stage of development and capability. It is unfair and unreasonable to impose upon them the same obligations, responsibilities and rules as those on developed countries. This will not help advance international cooperation and the sustainable development of the world economy.

Second, building on the consensus of opening up, safeguarding the multilateral trading system and deepening regional economic cooperation.

The multilateral trading system is vested with the responsibility to coordinate state trade policies, maintain international trade relations, reduce trade frictions and promote world economic growth. The parties should deliver on their commitments, stand in unity and firmly against protectionism in all manifestations and continue to push forward the Doha Round negotiations in a bid to build a fair, rational, equitable, universal and all-win multilateral trading system and ensure benefits of globalization for all the peoples. Meanwhile, the principle of openness, inclusiveness and transparency shall be upheld in pursuing regional and sub-regional economic cooperation and FTA construction.

Third, pressing ahead with the global sustainability agenda pivoted on fairness and green growth.

It is our common task to achieve green growth and sustainable development. The upcoming United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development in Brazil represents a major opportunity for worldwide sustainability cooperation. The international community should observe the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities to shore up the economic, social and environmental pillars of sustainable development in a balanced way while respecting national sovereignty over sustainable development, promoting green technology transfer to developing countries and staying wary of new green trade barriers.

Fourth, boosting international development cooperation backed by funds and technology.

With public financing still at the heart of international development assistance, developed countries should honour their ODA commitments and specially step up assistance for the LDCs so that the targets of the Istanbul Action Plan can be met on time. Meanwhile, developed countries should also bolster technology transfer to developing countries to boost the latter’s self-development capacity.

Besides, as a helpful supplement to North-South cooperation, South-South cooperation should take upon itself to expand trade between developing countries, promote two-way investment and economic and technical cooperation in other areas and boost talent training and technology capacity. Well-equipped developing countries should provide assistance that fits their capacity to other developing countries with a focus on human resources development and self-development capacity and expand market access for the LDCs. As the largest export market for the LDCs since 2008, China is among the most liberalized developing markets for the LDCs. In 2010 China’s imports from the LDCs jumped to USD 43.2 billion, or a quarter of LDC exports in total. At the G20 Summit in Cannes last year, China announced zero tariff treatment for 97% of the tariff items of exports from the LDCs with diplomatic ties with China under the framework of South-South cooperation.

Mr. Chairman,

China’s WTO Accession Protocol was adopted right in Doha in November 2001. In the past decade, China has faithfully honoured its accession commitments and seen remarkable improvement in trade and investment facilitation, driving the world economy with concrete efforts. Importing goods worth USD 750 billion on average every year, China creates enormous job and investment opportunities for its trading partners. Foreign-invested enterprises in China have remitted an aggregate profit of USD 261.7 billion, registering an annual growth rate of 30%. In the next five years, China is expected to import over USD 10 trillion worth of goods and China’s total retail sales of consumer goods will reach USD 5 trillion in 2015. This means more business opportunities for companies across the world and will add to the driving force for the world economy.

However, China remains the world’s largest developing country despite rising economic strength. According to the statistics of the World Bank, in 2011 China’s GDP per capita was around USD 5500, ranking 87th in the world; China’s annual income per capita stood at USD 1100, ranking 133rd globally. 150 million Chinese are still living below the poverty line set by the UN. Therefore, China is facing arduous tasks to achieve development and eliminate poverty. Problems such as unbalanced, uncoordinated and unsustainable development remain salient. The economic growth has come under increasing resource and environmental pressure. There are challenges such as lack of scientific innovation capability, irrational industrial structure, weak agricultural basis, uncoordinated urban-rural and regional development, and institutional hurdles to economic and social development. To address these challenges, the Chinese government focuses on scientific development underpinned by the transformation of economic growth pattern, seeks progress amid stability, and proactively implements the 12th Five-Year Plan to further promote comprehensive, coordinated and sustainable economic and social development in China.

Mr. Chairman,

We appreciate that UNCTAD has honored the Accra Accord passed at UNCTAD XII and worked hard and effectively for the development of developing countries in the past four years. China supports UNCTAD efforts to engage in global economic governance, help tackle the issue of unbalanced global development, put forth good policy suggestions for all countries to address global challenges and promote sustainable development of developing countries.

Mr. Chairman,

China faces the same challenges brought by globalization as other developing countries and is still a long way from its development goals. China is willing to work together with the rest of the world through the platform of UNCTAD to strengthen exchanges, promote mutually beneficial and win-win cooperation, meet challenges, share opportunities of development and promote prosperity and progress of the world.

In closing, on behalf of the Chinese delegation, I wish this conference a great success.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

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