Following is the full text of Premier Wen Jiabao's address at the opening session of the Inaugural Annual Meeting of the New Champions of the World Economic Forum's Summer Davos 2007 in Dalian.
Premier Wen Jiabao addresses the Inaugural Annual Meeting of the New Champions in Dalian on September 6, 2007. [Xinhua]
Dear Professor Klaus Schwab, executive chairman of the World Economic Forum, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, let me start by extending, on behalf of the Chinese government and myself, warm congratulations on the opening of the World Economic Forum Summer Davos 2007 in Dalian and cordial greetings to you.
It has been 36 years since the inception of the Forum in 1971. Starting from this year, the Forum will hold an annual Summer Davos in China. This shows the world's increasing interest in China's economic development and the growing cooperation between China and the Forum.
The key to the success of the Forum is that political and business leaders, experts and scholars from various countries participate in it with sincere wishes for equality and mutual respect.
With a strong sense of responsibility and mission, they are committed to discussing major issues of the world economy, paying greater attention to growth companies, underdeveloped regions and people in poverty, balance, coordination and sustainability of development, and playing an active role in promoting development, progress and harmony of the world. This should be the spirit of the World Economic Forum.
The name of this meeting, "The Inaugural Annual Meeting of the New Champions - From Davos to Dalian" and the continued theme of "Shifting Power Equation" are fitting ones and highly relevant as they reflect both the international community's focus on fast-growing companies and regions and its strong desire to establish a new international economic order.
Since China's economic development is high on the meeting's agenda, I wish to talk to you about the progress in China's development endeavor.
Since it embarked on the path of reform and opening-up nearly 30 years ago, China has seen profound economic and social changes. China has succeeded in transforming itself from a closed and semi-closed planned economy into an open socialist market economy.
There has been a great change in the life of the Chinese people, from lack of basic living necessities to moderate prosperity. China has also made important progress in political, cultural and social reforms and remarkable achievements in its modernization drive.
From 1978 to 2006, China's GDP registered an annual growth rate of 9.7 percent. During this period, its import and export surged to $1.76 trillion from $20.6 billion, the per capita consumption of its urban and rural population increased by over four times in real terms and the number of poor people dropped to 20 million from 250 million.
These achievements were possible because we have embarked on the correct path of development that is suited to China's particular conditions and is in keeping with the trend of the times.
On the other hand, I want to tell you frankly that China is still a developing country with a large population, weak economic foundation and underdeveloped productivity. This is a reality that has basically remained unchanged.
Although the overall size of China's economy is large, its per capita GDP is ranked behind over 100 countries. Uneven development between urban and rural areas and among different regions is still an acute problem. China, a big country with a population of over 1 billion, has encountered a host of intertwined problems and difficulties in the course of its social transformation. Modernization remains a long-term goal for China.
China's economy is on the whole in good shape, marked by sustained and fast growth, sound financial performance, growing trade and rising living standards. But problems such as unstable factors, imbalances and lack of sustainability also affect China's economic development.
They include excessively rapid economic growth, acute structural tensions, the inefficient pattern of growth, depletion of resources and environmental degradation, mounting pressure on price and entrenched structural and institutional obstacles.
To resolve these problems, we are putting into practice the scientific thinking on development and pursuing an innovation-based model of development. We are committed to a comprehensive, coordinated and sustainable path of development that puts people's interests first. Specifically, we are focusing our efforts on the following areas:
Maintain fast yet steady economic growth. Excessive growth of investment in fixed assets, oversupply of credit and loans and sizable trade surplus are major problems in China's current economic development. To resolve these problems, we must give top priority to macro-regulation to prevent an already fast-growing economy from becoming overheated.
We will continue to work to strike a balance between promoting economic growth and improving economic structure, between investment and consumption and between domestic and external demand. We will deepen the reform of the financial sector to develop a modern banking system, a comprehensive monetary regulatory mechanism and multi-tiered capital market.
We will continue to reform the renminbi exchange rate mechanism to increase its flexibility. We are confident that with enhanced macro regulation, the giant ship of China's economy will continue to surge ahead steadily.
Speed up changing the pattern of economic growth. To accelerate economic adjustment and raise the quality and efficiency of economic development is an urgent task facing China. We will follow a new path of industrialization by upgrading and improving industrial structure.
We will take enhancing capacity for independent innovation as a key step in changing the pattern of economic growth, strengthen IPR protection and speed up scientific and technological development and improve industrial performance in an all-round manner.
The Chinese government takes product quality and food safety very seriously. We are working hard to adopt legislation, improve the system of quality standards and strengthen quality control to effectively resolve problems in this area. To enhance product quality and food safety is a common task for the international community. We will continue to work with other countries to improve product quality and food safety.
Promote coordinated development. To address imbalances and lack of coordination in development is a long and arduous strategic task. Following the principle of making overall planning to ensure coordinated development, we are taking forceful measures to give stronger support to rural and other underdeveloped areas, speed up the development of social programs and gradually reverse the widening gap between agriculture and industry, between town and country and among different regions to ensure coordinated economic and social development.
Strive to build a resource-conserving and environmentally friendly society. China is committed to saving resources and protecting the environment. Saving energy and reducing energy and resource consumption and pollution discharge have been set as obligatory targets in China's plan on national economic and social development.
We have the confidence and resolve to accomplish this arduous task through unremitting efforts. We take climate change seriously and have formulated the national program on tackling climate change. We will work with other members of the international community to mitigate climate change.
Improve the livelihood of the people. To protect and advance the interests of the people is the ultimate goal of all our endeavors. We need to build a harmonious society in all aspects, and the focus of our effort is to address issues concerning people's livelihood.
Further steps are taken to increase employment, establish the social insurance system covering both the urban and rural population and quicken the pace of educational, health and cultural development. Vigorous efforts are being made to improve housing conditions, transportation, the living environment and public administration to ensure that the benefits of reform and development reach all.
Deepen reform. China's economic and social development is driven by reform. We will continue to reform the economic system, remain committed to building a socialist market economy, bring into full play the fundamental role of the market in resource allocation, improve the effectiveness of the macroeconomic regulatory system and establish institutional safeguards that facilitate scientific and harmonious development.
We will continue to advance political reform, expand people's democracy, strengthen the rule of law and promote social equity and justice. Without political reform, economic reform will not succeed.
China's economy has maintained rapid growth for almost 30 years. Will this development momentum continue? My answer is yes. We are fully confident about it for the following reasons: The pursuit of peace, development and cooperation is the trend of our times and this has made it possible for us to secure a long-term peaceful international environment.
Being in a stage of rapid industrialization and urbanization, China has the material and technological foundation to sustain economic growth. It has growing market demand and an abundant and increasingly well-trained labor force. China has a large number of dynamic companies that have emerged in the course of reform and by pursuing innovation, and it enjoys social and political stability.
We need to pursue the right domestic and foreign policies and be able to adapt to change to fully seize these opportunities and make good use of these favorable conditions. Despite the difficulties, risks and challenges on our way ahead, we have the confidence, capability and means to surmount them and advance the modernization drive. China's development has a bright prospect.
Ladies and gentlemen, China cannot achieve its development in isolation from the world, and the world needs China to ensure its development. Over the years, we have drawn upon the development practices of other countries and strengthened economic and technological cooperation and exchanges with them. This has boosted China's socioeconomic development, and we have contributed our due share to the growth of the global economy.
China will stay on the path of peaceful development, pursue a win-win opening-up strategy, develop itself by securing a peaceful international environment and uphold world peace and promote common development with its development. China's development will promote world peace and development and will never pose a threat to any country.
As China's development has shown and will continue to show, a prosperous, democratic, harmonious, civilized and modernized China will make an even greater contribution to maintaining world peace and promoting human progress.
The new champions are the new forces in the changing world economic environment. In particular, the global growth enterprises, which are most dynamic, competitive and promising, are playing a key role in world economic development. Here, I wish to reiterate that China's opening-up policy will definitely remain unchanged.
We will improve the systems as well as the laws and regulations governing foreign economic activities and make them more compatible with international practices and WTO rules. This will provide a more enabling environment to foreign companies, particularly the growth enterprises for doing business in China.
China calls for resolving trade frictions through consultation. China is ready to enhance cooperation with all other countries and their business communities on the basis of equality and mutual benefit to promote balanced, universal and win-win progress in economic globalization.
In conclusion, I wish the Forum full success.