China celebrated the 40th anniversary of Reform and Opening-up in 2018.
Thanks to the initiative of Mr Deng Xiaoping, the Third Plenary Session of the 11th CPC Central Committee in 1978 marked the beginning of China’s historic journey of reform and opening-up. The last four decades have been an epic journey for the Chinese people. With determination and through self-reliance and hard work, China has pursued development with its door open, succeeded in transforming a closed and semi-closed economy into a fully open economy and created a path of socialism with Chinese characteristics.
The reform and opening-up opened a new chapter for the rejuvenation of the Chinese nation. The Chinese nation has achieved a tremendous transformation – it has stood up, grown rich and become strong. In the last 40 years, China’s GDP grew from 367.9 billion RMB to 82.7 trillion RMB in 2017, up by 9.5 per cent on average annually, far above the global average of around 2.9 per cent. China’s foreign trade of goods increased from US$20.6 billion to over US$4 trillion. China has also become a top producer of main agriculture products, put in place the most complete modern industrial system, achieved many innovation breakthroughs in science, technology and completed a number of key projects, and come a long way in infrastructure development.
China has lifted 740 million people out of poverty which comprises 70 per cent of the total number of people lifted out of poverty in the whole world during the same time. China is now the world’s second largest economy, the biggest manufacturer, the top trader of goods, the second largest consumer of goods and the holder of the largest foreign exchange reserves for many years in a row.
China’s reform and opening-up have also brought benefits to global development. Seventeen years after joining the World Trade Organization, China has become a key trading partner for more than 120 countries and regions, generating more than 30 per cent of global growth for years and has become the main stabilizer and powerhouse of the world economy. In the next 15 years, China is expected to import US$24 trillion in goods, attract $2 trillion US dollars in direct foreign investment, invest US$2 trillion overseas and make two billion overseas tourist visits.
The most important inspiration of China’s reform and opening-up is that for any country or nation to achieve rejuvenation, the logic of history and the trend of the times in the pursuit of progress and development must be followed. Reform and opening-up, China’s second revolution, has not only profoundly changed the country but also greatly influenced the whole world. The successful practice of the Chinese people proves that there is more than one path leading to modernization. With the right direction and with unremitting efforts, all roads lead to Rome.
What has happened also proves that opening-up was the key to China’s economic growth over the past 40 years and in the same vein, the high-quality development of China’s economy in the future can only be achieved with greater openness.
Several days ago, H.E. Xi Jinping, President of the People’s Republic of China, addressed in the grand gathering celebrating the 40th anniversary of China’s reform and opening-up that the country will never put an end to that process of its reform and opening-up.
In the new era, China will continue to hold high the banner of openness, cooperation and mutual benefit, adhere to the global governance concept of achieving shared growth through discussion and collaboration to build the new round of economic globalization by promoting pragmatic cooperation under the framework of the Belt and Road Initiative. China’s door will never be closed. It will only open still wider. China will step up efforts by stimulating the potential for increased imports, continuing to broaden market access, fostering a world-class business environment, exploring new horizons of opening-up and promoting international cooperation at multilateral and bilateral levels so as to broaden China’s reform and opening-up.
Barbados is always one of the vital partners of China in the Caribbean region. Since the establishment of diplomatic ties between China and Barbados some 41 years ago, fruitful achievements have been made in the pragmatic cooperation between our two countries in areas like politics, economy, trade, education, health care and military, which is a vivid miniature of China’s opening-up.
Recently, there is even greater potential to develop friendly cooperative relations between China and Barbados given that socialism with Chinese characteristics is entering a new developing era while the Barbados Economic Recovery and Transformation programme starts to achieve preliminary results.
China looks forward to working together with Barbados and other Caribbean countries to achieve innovative development and strives for win-win cooperation in jointly building the Belt and Road Initiative as an effort to co-build a community with a shared future. This future is not only for Chinese and Caribbean people but also for all mankind and to create a more prosperous, more harmonious and much better tomorrow for the world.
Yan Xiusheng is the Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China to Barbados.