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Remarks by H.E. Ambassador Lin Songtian on the Reception in Honor of the Business Delegation Headed by Zhejiang CPC Party Secretary Che Jun
2018/06/14

Honorable Secretary Mr. Che Jun of Zhejiang provincial committee of the CPC,

Honorable Minister Ebrahim Patel, Minister of Economic Development,

Honorable Minister Senzeni Zokwana, Minister for Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries,

Honorable Deputy Minister Bulelani Magwanishe of the Department of Trade and Industry,

Honorable Deputy Minister Madala Masuku of Economic Development,

Honorable Deputy Minister Obed Bapela of Deparment of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs,

Honorable SACP Second Secretary Chris Matlhako,

Honorable SACP Treasure Madam Joyce Moloi-Moropa,

Honorable ANC National Spokesperson Pule Mabe,

Honorable President Special Envoy on Investment Jacko Maree,

Your Excellency Mr. Titus Mafolo, Special Advisor to the Foreign Minister,

Friends and representatives from the Chinese and South African governments, business community, and media,

Ladies and gentlemen,

Good afternoon. First of all, I wish to extend our warmest welcome to the powerful business delegation from China’s Zhejiang Province, headed by Honorable Secretary Mr. Che Jun of the Communist Party of China Zhejiang Provincial Committee. Thank you and your powerful delegation for coming to South Africa, and I am proud of you as you on behalf of the Chinese Government have taken the lead in bringing such a large business delegation to respond to the New Investment Drive proposed by H.E. President Cyril Ramaphosa of the Republic of South African. I would also like to thank Honorable Minister Ebrahim Patel, deputy ministers, special envoy on investment, advisers for the ministers,DG,DDG senior government officials from various departments, senior official from ANC and SACP, and friends from both Chinese and South African governments, business community, and media. Thank you all for taking time off your busy schedule to attend this reception.

Ladies and gentlemen,

This year marks the 20th anniversary of China-South Africa diplomatic ties. After 20 years of our joint efforts, China and South Africa have established comprehensive strategic partnership, creating tangible and visible benefits for our two peoples. China has for 9 years remained South Africa’s largest trading partner, and one of the most important source of foreign investment and tourists. In 2017, China-South Africa bilateral trade reached 39.17 billion US dollars, which marks an increase of 26 folds compared with the 1.5 billion dollars in 1998 at the beginning of our diplomatic ties. By the end of 2017, China has in accumulative terms invested over 25 billion US dollars in South Africa, creating over 400,000 local jobs.

I am proud to say that China-South Africa relations have developed four advantages, namely political mutual trust, mutually beneficial cooperation, people-to-people friendship, and international coordination. Today, China-South Africa relations are strategic, all-dimensional, and mutually beneficial. With four cooperation platforms, namely the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC), BRICS cooperation, the Belt and Road initiative, and South-South Cooperation, we have developed solid political and economic foundation for the comprehensive and in-depth development of our win-win cooperation.

We are very happy to see that H.E. President Ramaphosa is committed to improving government efficiency and investment environment, so as to attract foreign investment, develop economy, create more jobs to improve people’s livelihood. Therefore, H.E.President Ramaphosa has announced a New Investment Drive, including to hold an investment conference and jobs summit within this year. A series of important measures have been been taken to attract investors to take part in South Africa’s national development, and the President has also nominated Economic Advisor and 4 Special Envoys on Investment. These measures have received warm welcome and positive response from the business community both here in South Africa and abroad, as evidenced by the rapid increase in the international investor confidence in South Africa. We are fully confident that, under the strong leadership of President Ramaphosa, South Africa will surely achieve successful economic and social transformation.

Ladies and gentlemen,

This year also marks the 40th anniversary of China’s reform and opening up. In past four decades, the Chinese economy has averaged 9.5% annual growth rate, making a miracle in the world development history. Today, China ranks as the world’s second largest economy, the largest manufacturing power, the biggest exporter of goods, the largest holder of foreign exchange reserve, and the largest tourism spending power. At the same time, China has also become a major source of outbound foreign investment, averaging over 100 billion US dollars of outbound investment per year. The contribution of the Chinese economy alone to the world economic growth exceeds the combined contribution of all developed countries. It is estimated that in the next 5 years, China will import 8 trillion US dollars of goods, make 750 billion dollars of outbound direct investment, and 650 million Chinese tourists will travel out of China.

As the Africa’s strongest power, South Africa has the best economic foundation and development conditions. With its perfect location, rich resources, comprehensive infrastructure network, well-regulated market, and sound legal system, South Africa is the most mature country for deepening China-Africa win-win cooperation. With China’s comparative strengths in capital, technology, market, enterprises, and successful development experience, China and South Africa complement each other with our respective strengths and needs and are facing historic opportunities to synergize our development strategies .

China always views and approaches its relations with South Africa from strategic height and long-term perspective, and regards South Africa as the most important strategic partner of cooperation. We are ready to firmly support the ANC government led by H.E. President Ramaphosa to promote economic and social transformation, support South Africa to become a locomotive and production base for African industrialization and modernization, and make South Africa a pilot demonstration country in connecting the Belt and Road construction to Africa.

China is willing to work constantly to deepen and expand our win-win cooperation with South Africa in 10 priority areas, including manufacturing and processing, agriculture, tourism, marine economy, digital economy, industrial park development, infrastructure, human resources, scientific research and innovation, and finance. We will make constant efforts to further expand our two-way trade and investment. We are confident that working together, we will make China-South Africa comprehensive strategic partnership more productive and more beneficial to our two countries and two peoples.

Ladies and gentlemen,

Zhejiang Province has been a pioneer in China’s reform and opening up endeavor. Over the past 40 years, under the strong leadership of the Communist Party of China and the provincial government, the people of Zhejiang Province have created numerous economic and social miracles with their trailblazing and innovative spirit. Today, Zhejiang Province ranks top of China in terms of its active private sector, highly developed market economy, and highly dynamic innovative development. Zhejiang Province’s GDP is on a par with Switzerland, the Netherlands. The Province boasts rapid development and has been a leader in China in small commodities trade, manufacturing, e-commerce, marine economy, science and technology and innovation.

This time Honorable Secretary Che Jun has brought with him over 150 top-performing entrepreneurs and government officials on economic development. The delegation will also travel to Coega Special Economic Zone and co-host with the Eastern Cape government the China-South Africa Business Forum. This official visit is an important diplomatic effort of the Chinese government to promote China-South Africa local government exchange. More importantly, it marks a major step of the Chinese government taking the lead to respond to and support the New Investment Drive proposed by H.E.President Ramaphosa. This visit is to show that China is ready to be the most reliable friend and the strongest partner in South Africa’s pursuit of economic and social transformation.

China will continue to encourage and support more Chinese investors to South Africa to participate in the Investment Conference and Jobs Summit. We will also encourage more Chinese tourists to visit South Africa. We welcome the South African Special Envoy on Investment to visit China, and we are looking forward to a high-level delegation from South Africa to the first China International Import Expo to be held in Shanghai this November.

We are also looking forward to, with great enthusiasm, more effective measures to be taken by the South African government to fight against crimes for a safe and secure South Africa, legalize investment incentive policies, facilitate visa requirements, and improve government service efficiencies. It is our sincere hope that through those efforts, more and more Chinese and other foreign investors will come to South Africa to invest and do business, and of course to create jobs.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

This year marks an important year for China-South Africa relations. Next month, H.E. Chinese President Xi Jinping will come to South Africa to attend the BRICS Johannesburg Summit. In September, H.E President Cyril Ramaphosa will go to China for the FOCAC Beijing Summit. As our two Presidents exchange visits, they will draw up a new blueprint and open up a new chapter for China-South Africa and China-Africa development cooperation. It is our firm belief that, a new era has arrived for China-South Africa comprehensive strategic partnership to grow more productive and beneficial to our two countries and two peoples.

Thank you!

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