By Xuefei Chen Axelsson
Stockholm, Sept.3(ChinaEuropeDialogue) — Chinese Ambassador to Sweden Gui Congyou has called for China-Sweden trade cooperation to grow faster.
He made the remark at the 41st anniversary of the Sweden-China Trade Council which was held on Wednesday in Stockholm. The following is his remarks through en interpreter.
Honorable State Secretary Krister Nilsson,
Honorable Acting Chairman Frédéric Cho,
Honorable Secretary General Elisabet Söderström,
Dear guests, ladies and gentlemen,
Good afternoon. It gives me great pleasure to attend the 41st anniversary of the Sweden-China Trade Council (SCTC). We hope the pandemic will end soon and China-Sweden trade cooperation will grow faster.
The unexpected COVID-19 pandemic has seriously hindered global economic development and trade in 2020. The supply chain disruptions also challenged economic exchanges among countries. Despite the difficulties, we are glad to see trade between China and Sweden registered growth in 2020. China’s numbers show that our bilateral trade reached USD 17.8 billion, up nearly 1%, which says plenty about the tremendous potential and momentum of our trade cooperation. In the first half of this year, our bilateral trade has exceeded USD 10 billion, up by an amazing 23%. China’s exportation to Sweden registered USD 4.85 billion and importation USD 5.17 billion, which means Sweden keeps its trade surplus. If the growth momentum can be sustained, this year may see a new record of our bilateral trade.
On the front of trade cooperation between China and Sweden, despite fewer visits by business people and slower investment growth both ways, there is no shortage of highlights. One example is the inauguration of Scania’s third global truck factory in Rugao, Jiangsu Province. The factory will manufacture a full range of Scania’s products, which will significantly advance Scania’s business in China and the broader Asia. Chinese private companies, Senior Materials and KDL from Shenzhen and Lead Intelligent from Wuxi for example, also started their factories in Sweden, expanding our new energy cooperation. The latest statistics show a two way growth in our bilateral investment in this year’s first six months, especially Swedish companies invested 45% more than the same period of last year. These investments meet China’s need for high quality economic growth, and strengthen our confidence in further expanding our cooperation in such areas as smart transportation, new energy, new materials, bio-medicine, artificial intelligence and high-end equipment manufacturing.
Ladies and gentlemen,
China is a major foreign investment destination. In 2020, when global foreign investment dropped by 40%, investment into China grew by 4.5%. All year round, investment into China exceeded USD 144.3 billion, hitting a new record, making China surpass the US as the the world’s largest investment destination. This is a vote of strong confidence in China by the international community. Foreign companies, including Swedish ones, have become an important part of China’s market entities. Since the outbreak of the pandemic, the Chinese Government proposed a new development paradigm with domestic circulation as its mainstay and domestic and international circulations reinforcing each other. This new paradigm is not about closed internal circulation, but a more open dual-circulation paradigm, internally and externally. China will further reduce the negative list for foreign investment, and actively participate in WTO reform, improve services for foreign investors, step up protection of the lawful rights and interests of foreign investors, and continue to improve China’s business environment. I am convinced that China’s new development paradigm will provide new opportunities for Swedish companies. 170 years ago, the Gothenburg ship travelled to China, opening the peaceful trade between China and Sweden via the maritime silk road. I am glad the second half of today’s event is held on the Gotheburg ship, which is both symbolic and relevant.
Ladies and gentlemen,
SCTC was born in 1980, at the beginning of China’s reform and opening up, which demonstrates the foresight and confidence in China by the Swedish business community back then. The SCTC, 41 years since its birth, has become a major channel and platform for China-Sweden mutually beneficial cooperation, and is playing an increasingly important role. I would like to take this opportunity to express sincere thanks to all the chairmen, vice chairmen, board members and member companies throughout these years, for your contribution to our economic cooperation. It is hoped that SCTC will strengthen communication with Chinese partners, work with them for a new chapter of economic cooperation in the post COVID-19 era, a chapter of openness, cooperation and mutual benefits. My colleagues at the Embassy and I will do our best to support the work of SCTC, as we did before.
I wish the event a full success.