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Xi Jinping Attends and Addresses APEC Informal Economic Leaders' Retreat

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On the evening of July 16, 2021, President Xi Jinping attended and addressed the APEC Informal Economic Leaders' Retreat via video link in Beijing upon invitation.

Xi Jinping pointed out, at present, the COVID-19 pandemic is undergoing many twists and turns. Controlling the pandemic still poses a difficult challenge. Meanwhile, peace and development remains the theme of our times, and the call for upholding multilateralism, strengthening solidarity and cooperation, and meeting challenges together is growing stronger than ever. Last year, we adopted the APEC Putrajaya Vision 2040 and set the goal of an Asia-Pacific community. The Asia-Pacific is a major engine for global economic growth. For member economies of the Asia-Pacific, defeating COVID-19 and restoring growth at an early date and boosting global economic recovery are our top priority for the time being.

First, strengthen international cooperation on COVID-19 response. China has provided more than 500 million doses of vaccines to other developing countries, and will provide another 3 billion U.S. dollars in international aid in the next three years. China will take an active part in cooperation initiatives to keep vaccine supply chains stable and safe and support the movement of essential goods, and take effective measures to ensure healthy, safe and orderly people-to-people exchanges. China has financed the founding of a Sub-Fund on APEC Cooperation on Combating COVID-19 and Economic Recovery.

Second, deepen regional economic integration. We should promote the liberalization and facilitation of trade and investment and uphold the multilateral trading system with the WTO at its core. We must remove barriers, not erect walls. We must open up, not close off. We must seek integration, not decoupling. We need to step up macroeconomic policy coordination, minimize negative spillovers, and promote cooperation on digital connectivity. We need to advance regional economic integration, with a view to establishing a high-standard Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific at an early date. China is among the first to ratify the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership agreement, and it looks forward to its entry into force this year.

Third, pursue inclusive and sustainable development. We must be committed to a people-centered approach, and green growth. China attaches great importance to addressing climate change. It will strive to peak carbon dioxide emissions before 2030 and achieve carbon neutrality before 2060. China supports APEC in advancing cooperation on sustainable development and technical cooperation. We should make energy more efficient, clean and diverse, promote inclusive trade and investment, support the development of small- and medium-sized enterprises, scale up support for women and other vulnerable groups, and strive to deliver the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Fourth, seize opportunities from scientific and technological innovation. The global digital economy is an open and close-knit entity. Win-win cooperation is the only right way forward, while a closed-door policy, exclusion, confrontation and division would only lead to a dead end. We need to develop digital infrastructure, and work for a digital business environment that is open, fair and non-discriminatory. China will host a workshop on digital capacity building and take forward such initiatives as bolstering the recovery of the tourism sector with digital tools.

Xi Jinping emphasized, China has embarked on a new journey toward fully building a modern socialist country. It will build a new system of open economy of higher standards, create a more attractive business environment, and advance high-quality Belt and Road cooperation. China hopes to work with countries in the Asia-Pacific and beyond to achieve higher-standard mutual benefit and win-win cooperation.

Xi Jinping said, there is a Maori saying in New Zealand that goes, "Turn your face to the sun and the shadows will fall behind you." We have full confidence in humanity's victory over the pandemic through cooperation. We have full confidence in the prospects of world economic recovery. We have full confidence in a shared, bright future of humanity. Let us stand with each other in solidarity, promote anti-COVID cooperation and economic recovery, and work for a bright future of prosperity for all in the Asia-Pacific.

The retreat was held at the initiative of New Zealand, the host of APEC for this year, and via video link. The theme is: Confronted by COVID-19, what are the opportunities for the Asia-Pacific region to collaborate to move through the health crisis, and to accelerate economic recovery in a manner that lays the foundations for a better future?