Remarks by Minister Xu Xueyuan at the Luncheon of Tennessee Business Community

Nashville, August 5, 2019

Distinguished guests,

Ladies and gentlemen,

It is my great pleasure to be with you in the beautiful state of Tennessee, especially in Nashville, the capital of country music. When I was walking on Broadway last night, I was overwhelmed by the melodies of country music, and I thought of Elvis Presley’s Love Me Tender, which was popular when I was in college, and the songs of Luke Bryan, which are popular today.

Your state is well-known in China. Many Chinese people travel here every year to enjoy the spectacular Great Smoky Mountains National Park and even more enjoy sipping on a glass of Jack Daniels. More importantly, Tennessee is also home to James Sasser and Joseph Prueher, two U.S. Ambassadors to China who greatly contributed to China-U.S. relations during their tenure.

Ladies and gentlemen,

This year marks the 40th anniversary of China-U.S. diplomatic relations. In the last four decades, our two countries have scored historic achievements despite some twists and turns. This has resulted in huge benefits to the people of China and the United States, and it has helped contribute to world peace, prosperity, and stability. History has proven that both China and the United States benefit from cooperation and lose in confrontation. Cooperation and dialogue are better than friction and confrontation. Chinese President Xi Jinping and U.S. President Donald Trump met in Osaka, Japan, in June of this year and had an in-depth exchange of views on the fundamental issues concerning China-U.S. relations. They agreed to continue pursuing a China-U.S. relationship based on coordination, cooperation, and stability. They also agreed to re-start consultations on trade. These important points of consensus have sent positive messages to the world, and have been extensively applauded by the two countries and the international community.

Andrew Jackson, the 7th U.S. President, who spent most of his life in Tennessee, said, “Take time to deliberate, but when the time for action arrives, stop thinking and go in.” An important task for us right now is to implement the consensus reached by our two Presidents, expand cooperation based on mutual benefit, manage differences based on mutual respect, and ensure the growth of bilateral relations remain on the right track.

Ladies and gentlemen,

You must be following the China-U.S. economic and trade relationship very closely. It is important for us to always remember that this relationship is mutually beneficial. China and the U.S. have been each other’s most important trading partners, and the two countries also act as an important source of investment to each other. Our bilateral relationship contributes greatly to economic growth and the improvement of people’s livelihood in both countries. Last year, the two-way trade of goods and services exceeded 750 billion USD, and accumulative two-way direct investment approached 160 billion USD. According to the U.S. statistics, American exports to China supported over 1 million jobs in the U.S. and trade with China helped every American household save hundreds of USD. More specifically, let’s look at Tennessee. China is the state’s third-largest goods and services export market. In 2016 alone, exports from Tennessee to China provided over 20,000 job opportunities to the state. At present, nearly 70 Chinese companies have invested in and established their presence in Tennessee, providing nearly 4,000 jobs. And these figures could have been much bigger if it were not for the trade war.

In the age of economic globalization, as the largest two economies in the world, China and the U.S. are deeply intertwined. Increasing tariffs or decoupling our economies will not resolve our differences in trade policy. It will only hurt both sides. Both countries need to take a rational and cooperative approach to address their issues through dialogue and consultation. China is sincere about its talks with the U.S, but they must be based on equality and mutual respect, and they must address reasonable concerns raised by the two sides.

Exerting maximum pressure on China is not a wise strategy. China is a huge market, and its economy is resilient. As President Xi Jinping said, the Chinese economy is not a pond but an ocean. Big winds and storms may upset a pond, but never an ocean. We hope the U.S. will meet China halfway and work towards a final solution that is acceptable to both sides. This is in line with the fundamental interests of both countries and the general expectations of the international community.

Ladies and gentlemen,

This year also marks the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China. China has made remarkable achievements since its founding thanks to the hard efforts of generations of Chinese people. China’s economy grew at 6.3% in the first half of this year, a rate slightly lower than that of past years, but still eye-catching among major economies. In the long run, the overall momentum of long-term stability and progress remains unchanged and will not change in the future.

Meanwhile, we must not forget that China is the largest developing country in the world and development remains its top priority. While China’s GDP ranks second in the world, World Bank statistics show that the country’s per capita GDP is below 10,000 USD, less than 1/6 of that of the U.S and ranking the 64th in the world. The problem of unbalanced and inadequate development between urban and rural areas and among different regions is still prominent. We have cities on the east coast with rows of skyscrapers, but in some rural areas in the central and western regions, people are still not adequately fed and clothed. China has nearly 20 million people who have yet to be lifted out of poverty. Children in some mountainous regions have to trudge for several hours to get to school. For instance, in some backward areas of Shanxi Province, the sister province of Tennessee, the annual disposable income per capita is less than 1200 USD. I think it’s easy to understand the huge development gap between the two countries.

The Chinese people are now working hard to achieve the two centenary goals, namely, to complete the building of a moderate prosperous society in all respects by the time the CPC celebrates its centenary in 2021, and to build China into a modern socialist country that is prosperous, strong, democratic, culturally advanced, and harmonious by the time the People’s Republic of China celebrates its centenary by the middle of the 21st century. China’s development is not to challenge or replace other countries, but rather to meet the aspirations of the Chinese people for a better life. In this regard, China pursues a people-centered development philosophy and strives to build a new model of international relations featuring win-win cooperation, and a community with a shared future for mankind. These endeavors are made to better safeguard world peace and promote common development.

China’s development requires a stable external environment and in turn, provides more development opportunities for other countries. China has contributed around 30% to global growth for many consecutive years. It is a huge market with some 1.4 billion people, and it has the world’s largest middle-income population. President Xi has reiterated to the world that China's door of opening-up will not close. It will only open wider. A host of concrete measures have been taken to comprehensively deepen reform, promote opening-up at a higher level, expand market access for foreign investment in broader areas, strengthen IPR protection, and increase imports of goods and services. All in all, China will do well only when the world does well, and vice versa. China is ready to work with its American friends including all of you present today, to ensure the long-term stability of China-U.S. relations, and contribute to lasting peace and prosperity of the world.

Thank you very much!

Suggest to a Friend: