Ambassador Li Chao published article on economic cooperation between China and Estonia
2018/04/12

In March, the Chinese Ambassador to Estonia H.E. Mr. Li Chao published a signed article entitled China and Estonia share bright prospect in win-win cooperation on Innovative magazine.

The Ambassador updates readers on Chinese economy, gives an overview on recent developments between Chinese and Estonian businesses and presents the first China International Import Expo to be held in Shanghai this November. He also expresses his confidence on the prospect of mutually beneficial cooperation in trade and investment.

Here is the English text of the article:

China and Estonia share bright prospect in win-win cooperation

 

About two months ago, landing at Tallinn Airport, I started my service as the new Chinese Ambassador to Estonia. It didn't take me long to be impressed by Estonia's beautiful nature, robust economy, dynamic society and friendly people, not to mention the world-class e-services. As Chinese Ambassador to Estonia, I believe that our two countries can and should work together in many areas based on the strength of our individual economy as our economies are complementary and our two countries have a lot of common interests.

 

Estonia has been a partner for China in the European Union and the Baltic region for years. It is also one of our partners to implement the Belt and Road Initiative and the Cooperation between China and Central and Eastern European Countries (also known as 16+1 Cooperation). Since the establishment of diplomatic relations 26 years ago, China has been committed to developing friendly cooperation with Estonia in the spirit of equality, mutual respect and win-win cooperation. Our cooperation in trade, investment, agriculture, health care, culture, education, energy is successful and has brought many tangible results to our businesses and peoples.

 

In recent years, our two countries have stepped up effort in developing closer business relations. The oil shale power plant jointly developed by companies from China, Estonia and Malaysia in Jordan has become the flagship large-scale project outside Estonia. The joint venture Post 11 set up by Omniva of Estonia and China's SF Express is a successful business model based on e-commerce and logistics. Chinese ride hailing giant Didi Chuxing is a strategic partner of Taxify. Estonian wooden houses, dairy and fishery products have found their way to Chinese market. In addition, our two countries have had close cooperation within the format of 16+1 Cooperation, yielding many positive results. The achievements our two countries have made together have been increasingly recognized and we have every confidence to develop stronger relationship in future.

 

My confidence in closer cooperation between China and Estonia also comes from the prospect of my own country. Since 2013, China has made painstaking effort to press ahead structural reforms at home, shifting more focus and resources to innovation. I am proud to say that our effort has been paid off. High speed railways, e-commerce, mobile payments and sharing economy in China are leading the world. Digital economy is shaping the economic landscape in China as we speak. Over the past two years, digital economy accounted for more than 30% of China's total GDP and the share will continue rising up quickly to more than 50% by 2035. With the robust development of digital economy, new industries, new businesses and new model are growing, which has brought numerous opportunities for businesses from home and abroad.

 

At the same time, as the Chinese people have more money to spend thanks to the reform and opening-up in the past four decades, China has grown into a global market with great potential. The contribution of consumption to the growth of China's GDP has increased from 54.9% to 58.8% over the past five years. Personal income has increased by an annual average of 7.4% during the same period, outpacing economic growth and creating the world's largest middle-income group. Over the past five years, online retail sales in China have been growing at an average annual rate of over 30%, and total retail sales of consumer goods have enjoyed an average annual increase of 11.3%. It is estimated that China will import 10 trillion USD worth of goods and services in the next five years and attract 600 billion USD foreign investments.

 

It is the fortieth anniversary of China's reform and opening-up this year. The policy adopted in 1978 has transformed the country from a closed and backward economy into the world's second largest economy, the second largest trader, the second largest outbound investor and second largest recipient of foreign investment. China has contributed more than 30% to global growth in average over the past five years. Based upon the successful experience, China is making renewed effort to further expand the scope of opening-up in all dimensions. We will lower import tariffs on automobiles, some everyday consumer goods, and so on. We will open our market wider to promote domestic industry upgrading and more balanced development of foreign trade, and to provide Chinese consumers with a broader range of choices. We will also promote a steady growth in foreign investment. The general manufacturing sector in China will be completely opened up, and access to sectors like telecommunications, medical services, education, elderly care, and new-energy vehicles will be expanded. Overseas investors will be granted tax deferral for the reinvestment of profit made in China. Procedures for setting up foreign-invested enterprises will be simplified, and business filling and business registration will be processed together in one go.

 

As one of the measures, we will host the China International Import Expo in Shanghai on 5-10 November this year. China is ready to embrace the world with open arms and share the large market with businesses around the world. More than 180 countries or regions have already confirmed their participation so far. Lithuania is the very first country confirming their participation. I hope Estonian companies will seize the opportunity to make full use of the expo to present your products and services to buyers from China and around the world.

 

Estonia is called Silicon Valley in the Baltic region. It has been recognized as a successful model of digital society. Comparing with Estonia, China is a latecomer in developing e-services even though we are leading the world in some digital solutions. The Chinese Government is committed to make progress with the Internet Plus Government Service model. One of the tools is to develop government information system connectivity and connect up information islands. Estonian rich experience and expertise on e-service is certainly helpful in this regard. Estonian Government officially signed up the Belt and Road Initiative last year. Our two governments are now working together to implement MOU on Digital Silk Road and e-commerce cooperation, which can unlock many opportunities for our businesses.

 

There is great potential in trade and investment cooperation between China and Estonia. China is ready to work shoulder to shoulder with Estonia to strengthen our practical cooperation within the Belt and Road Initiative and 16+1 format so as to achieve win-win results. My team and I will do our best to build bridges between Chinese and Estonian businesses. I very much hope more Estonian companies will take part in trade fairs and explore business opportunities in China, a country which is moving forward with passion in a new era.

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