China’s Economy Seeks Improvement in Stability, and China-Italy Cooperation Embraces a Bright Future
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Lately, Two Sessions, namely the National People's Congress (NPC) and Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) were successfully held, which attracts the world's attention to Beijing again. I notice that the Italian media are also paying close attention to the Two Sessions. There are many accurate and wonderful reports on the it, but also some worries over China's economic development as well as the doubts on China-Italy cooperation, especially the cooperation of Belt and Road. Here, I want to share some personal views.
China's economy does face challenges, but the long-term promising prospect has not changed. In 2018, China's economy has maintained overall stability and made steady progress, growing by 6.6%, ranking first among the world's top five economies, and contributing nearly 30% to global economic growth. China's foreign trade exceeded 30 trillion yuan for the first time, up 9.7 percent year-on-year. More than 13.6 million new jobs were created, and the number of people living in poverty in rural areas decreased by over 13.8 million. Against the backdrop of sluggish global economic growth, it is not easy for China to make these achievements.
Government Work Report released during the Two Sessionsset China's economic growth target at 6.0 to 6.5 percent this year. In my view, this is an objective judgment based on current internal and external situation, and also an inevitable choice for China's economy to move towards high-quality development. China's economy is large and resilient, and its new business modes develop rapidly. We will continue to deepen supply-side structural reform, open wider to the world, promote innovation-driven development, and accelerate the transformation from old drivers from new ones. The government will continue to stimulate the vitality of China's market economy through reasonable fiscal and monetary policies, tax cuts and fee reductions. We are confident that we will overcome difficulties and challenges, achieve the growth targets and make new contributions to the sound and steady development of the global economy.
China and Italy enjoy mutually beneficial and win-win cooperation, as well as broad prospects for jointly building the Belt and Road Initiative. The Belt and Road Initiative Initiative is not a geopolitical tool, but an important opportunity for regional connectivity and common development of all countries. Over the past five years, the Belt and Road Initiative is implemented from points to the whole area, and has progressed in practice and grown stronger through cooperation. So far, 123 countries and 29 international organizations have signed Belt and Road Initiative cooperation documents with China. China's total trade in goods with countries along the Belt and Road has exceeded $6 trillion U.S. dollars. A large number of important Belt and Road Initiative projects have brought tangible benefits to people in many countries. China has advanced Belt and Road international cooperation guided by the golden principles of extensive consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits. China advocates the Silk Road Spirit featuring peace, cooperation, openness, inclusiveness, mutual learning and mutual benefit. This has nothing to do with the so-called hegemonism and debt trap that some people keep hyping.
Currently, China-Italy cooperation under the framework of Belt and Road Initiative enjoys sound momentum. Last year, bilateral trade reached a record high of 54.23 billion U.S. Dollars, and two-way investment exceeded 20 billion U.S. Dollars. Cooperation in port infrastructure construction, 5G networks and third-party market cooperation is in the ascendant. In April, China will host the second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation. This is another grand international gathering for all parties to align their development strategies and deepen practical cooperation. Lately, Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte personally announced to attend the meeting in China, which we appreciate and welcome.
This year marks the 15th anniversary of the establishment of China-Italy comprehensive strategic partnership, and next year marks the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between the two countries. At this important historical juncture, President Xi Jinping will pay a state visit to Italy. This is the first state visit to Italy by a Chinese President in nearly 10 years, and the first by Xi Jinping since he became the President. During his visit, President Xi and Italian leaders will renew friendship, promote cooperation and witness the signing of a series of important bilateral cooperation agreements. The two countries will also issue a joint statement charting the course of China-Italy relations in the new era. Historic visits bring historic opportunities. I hope the two sides work together to seize the opportunity, deepen the traditional friendship , and push forward the win-win cooperation between China and Italy to a higher level, so as to bring more benefits to the two peoples.