Premier Li Keqiang on Nov 13 called for global efforts to uphold free trade and multilateralism in order to bring world peace and global common prosperity.
Premier Li made the remarks in his speech titled “Pursuing Open and Integrated Development for Shared Prosperity” at the 44th Singapore Lecture.
Premier Li said it is the international order based on multilateralism and free trade that has helped humanity maintain lasting peace and reduce poverty since the end of WWII more than 70 years ago.
China committed to just and fair trade
Stressing that China has always advocated just and fair trade, Premier Li said free trade is the prerequisite for all trade.
“Without free trade, it means no trade, and then how can there be just and fair trade? Meanwhile, just and fair trade is an important basis for the continued development of free trade,” Premier Li said.
He called for reform measures to address problems that occurred during the process of globalization, but warned that those measures should not run counter to the basic rules of multilateralism and free trade, especially should not discard the current regime and start all over again.
“China is willing to discuss ways to improve free trade and promote the development of globalization with all sides,” said Premier Li.
“We also stand ready to talk about just and fair trade in order to make free trade more robust and develop at a higher level,” he added.
“Fair and just trade is the foundation of free trade development.”
China’s remarkable achievements
China’s development achievements are the result of the efforts of the Chinese people, Premier Li stressed, adding that China wants to share developmental opportunities with its neighbors and others.
“Development is the root of China’s solution to all problems,” he said.
The Premier noted that China’s market has a huge potential for consumption and the country will accelerate its reform and opening-up.
Premier Li also gave an example of a good and steady trend of China’s economy.
E-commerce giant Alibaba saw its sales hit $17 billion by the mid-morning of November 11 after racing to a billion dollars two minutes past midnight, seconds after the nation’s annual shopping frenzy began. Last year’s total was $17.7 billion.
“China’s door will only open wider,” he added.
South China Sea issue and ties with ASEAN countries
China hopes consultation on the Code of Conduct in the South China Sea (COC) would be finished in three years, Premier Li said.
He said China firmly adheres to the path of peaceful development and wants to strengthen cooperation with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).
“The Chinese often say that it is better to have a close neighbor than a distant relative,” he said.
Premier Li also said he hoped to finalize a major trade pact with 15 other countries called the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) in 2019.
China eyes stronger ties with Singapore
Premier Li expressed his wish to strengthen bilateral ties with Singapore and praised Singapore’s involvement in China’s reform and opening-up.
“Thirty years ago, I visited Singapore for the first time, and my impression of the country was, what a modern country it is. This is my first visit to Singapore as the Chinese premier, and I am happy with Singapore’s achievements during these years,” Premier Li said.
He added that this visit will help promote China-Singapore ties to a new level.
Premier Li arrived in Singapore on Nov 12 for an official visit and will attend the 21st China-ASEAN (10+1) leaders’ meeting, the 21st ASEAN-China, Japan and South Korea (10+3) leaders’ meeting, and the 13th East Asia Summit.