The Chinese Economy Remains Strong
2020/01/20

In recent years, there has been visibly more coverage of China’s economy in the western media. Regrettably however, some of the articles that they carry do not present the whole picture and lack solid evidence to support their perspectives. With a pessimistic view, these articles narrowly focus on the difficulties and challenges and paint a gloomy picture of China’s economy.

How is China’s economy really doing? If we look back on 2019, we can see at least the following three features .

First, China’s economy is stable and its performance is sound. This general trend remains unchanged. In 2019, China’s economy maintained steady growth. The country’s GDP grew by 6.1 percent, the highest among all trillion-dollar economies in the world. In the past few years, China has contributed some 30 percent to global economic growth, more than the United States, the Eurozone and Japan combined. China has become a major engine driving global growth.

If one focuses on the numbers alone, one would probably say that China’s growth rate has come down a bit. But we must not forget that this rate was achieved on top of an enormous base of more than 13 trillion US dollars. The increase in China’s GDP is in fact equivalent to the GDP of Australia or Spain’s annual GDP, or twice that of Switzerland’s. Registering medium-to-high growth on top of such a large base speaks volumes about the strong resilience and huge potential of China’s economy.

Second, China’s new vision of development has helped improve the quality and performance of its economy. Under the new circumstances, we have put forward a new vision of development and China’s economy is being transformed from rapid growth to high-quality development.

We have improved the structure of the economy, with over 60 percent of growth generated by final consumption and the service sector. We have pursued an innovation-driven strategy. Science and technology innovation has become a new driver of the economy. To name but a few achievements last year, the Chang’e-4 lunar probe landed on the dark side of the moon, the number of Beidou Navigation satellites exceeded 50 and we started granting 5G licenses for commercial use.

We have pursued green and sustainable development, guided by the conviction that lucid waters and lush mountains are invaluable assets. By promoting green industries, we have enhanced eco-conservation and the building of a beautiful China.

Third, we have adhered to the policy of opening up and shared development opportunities with the world. Against the backdrop of rising unilateralism and trade protectionism, the global economy is suffering significant downward pressure. China continues to open itself up, support the multilateral trading system, promote trade liberalization and facilitation and pursue win-win cooperation. This has injected confidence and impetus into the world economy.

Last year, we set up the Lin-gang Special Area of the Shanghai Pilot FTZ, passed the Foreign Investment Law and upgraded the negative list for the access of foreign investment. These measures demonstrate our resolve to further open up to promote reform, development and innovation. Looking ahead, China’s door only open still wider.

As the Chinese Ambassador to Malta, I’m glad to see Malta’s strong economic growth in the past few years. Malta is investing in infrastructure, new energy as well as new technology such as block chain and AI. These are also key areas of China’s development and where our strength lies.

Since our two governments signed the Memorandum of Understanding on the joint promotion of Belt and Road construction, we have achieved good progress in our cooperation across the board. The Mozura wind farm in Montenegro, invested by Shanghai Electric and Enemalta was officially opened, charting a new path of third-party market cooperation between our two countries.

The Hon. Minister Abela led Malta’s delegation to the 2nd China International Import Expo in Shanghai, where for the first time Malta set up a country pavilion and Maltese enterprises participated in the business exhibition. Over a million Chinese buyers and local people visited the pavilions and got to know Malta up-close. The expo opened a new window for more cooperation in business and tourism between our two countries.

I look forward to greater synergy of development strategies and complementarity of strengths between China and Malta. We will work to push our cooperation to a new high and make greater contribution to China-EU relations and to global growth.

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This article was published in the Malta Independent on 18 January, 2020.

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