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Remarks by Ambassador Gui Congyou at the Annual Conference of Chinese Chamber of Commerce in Stockholm

Distinguished CEO of Business Sweden Mrs. Ylva Berg,

Distinguished Secretary General of Sweden-China Trade Council Mrs. Elisabet Söderström,

Distinguished President of Chinese Chamber of Commerce in Stockholm Mr. Zhu Jinchuan,

Dear guests and friends,

Ladies and gentlemen,

At the opening of the second Annual Conference of Chinese Chamber of Commerce in Sweden (CCCS), on behalf of the Chinese Embassy in Sweden, I'd like to extend warm congratulations on the opening of the conference, and extend my sincere thanks to you, representatives of the business communities in China and Sweden, for your efforts over the years to advance economic and trade cooperation between China and Sweden.

As the backbone of China-Sweden economic and trade cooperation, Chinese companies have been operating over 30 years in Sweden, and their growth in recent years has been very robust. Now there are nearly 50 Chinese companies in Sweden, with a total investment of close to USD 7.6 billion, creating over 17,000 local jobs, making important contributions to China-Sweden trade and investment cooperation. Since its inception in December 2016, the CCCS has been committed to an idea of harmony, integrity, growth and mutual benefits, and has been working for the benefits of its members. It organized a variety of activities, increased its influence in Sweden, and is now a leading organization for advancing practical cooperation between China and Sweden.

In 2018, trade and investment cooperation between China and Sweden continued to grow, and scored new achievements. As the living standard of Chinese people continues to improve, there is a growing demand among Chinese consumers for high-quality Swedish products. Last year, Sweden's exports to China were larger than its imports from China, which keeps Sweden on a trade surplus. Bilateral trade reached USD 17.15 billion, up 15%, in which China exported USD 8.2 billion, up 16.7%, and imported USD 8.95 billion, up 13.5%. Two-way investment is also rising. As of December 2018, the Swedish side accumulatively invested in 1,537 projects in China, totaling USD 5.01 billion. The Chinese side accumulatively invested USD 7.55 billion in Sweden, which indicates that the interest of Chinese companies to invest in Sweden is stronger, that the quality, range and scale of Chinese investment are improving and expanding, and that our investment cooperation has developed from general trade to a wide range of areas including telecommunications, automobile, bio-medicine, forestry, paper-making, chemical engineering, clothes design and legal consulting.

In the past year, the interest of the Swedish business community in cooperation with China is growing stronger. The Swedish Government and business community attached high importance to and actively participated in the first China International Import Expo (CIIE). Tomorrow, Vice Minister of Commerce of China Mr. Wang Bingnan is going to hold a road show for the second CIIE. The just concluded Nordic-China Smart City Conference was very well received by the Swedish side, which formed a platform for Nordic-China cooperation in green energy, green transportation, smart city, health and old-age care.I'd like to take this opportunity to thank the CCCS and Swedish participants for their strong support and active participation.

I'd also like to report that, first, the steady economic development of China provides solid support for Chinese companies to invest abroad. In recent years, in the face of anemic world economic recovery and challenges amid China's economic transition, our economy grew steadily, at a pace that is among the highest in the world's major economies.Industrial growth, performance of companies, import and export and investment have all stabilized and are improving. Second, China's reform and opening up and improvement of legal system provide a better investment environment for foreign companies. Not long ago, National People's Congress of China adopted the Foreign Investment Law, which includes articles on pre-establishment national treatment plus a negative list, equal treatment towards domestic and foreign investment, protection of IPR, and establishment and improvement of service system for foreign investment. These five highlights are widely applauded. Third, we hope Sweden will remain committed to free trade and open development, play a positive and constructive role in the EU and promote sound and steady progress of China-EU trade and investment cooperation.

Let me close my speech by wishing the CCCS greater growth, its members deeper cooperation with Swedish partners, and greater contributions be made for greater and deeper trade and investment cooperation between China and Sweden. Thank you.

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