Remarks at the Inaugural Ceremony of the Chinese Chamber of Commerce in Sweden
State Secretary Stenström,
Chairman Li Hongzhong,
It gives me real delight to join you today for the inaugural ceremony of the Chinese Chamber of Commerce in Sweden (CCCS). The inauguration is drawing this year's Sino-Swedish economic and trade interaction to a perfect close. On behalf of the Chinese Embassy in Sweden, I would like to express our congratulations on the founding of the CCCS and the election of Mr. Li Hongzhong as the first chairman, and our warm welcome to all the distinguished guests present today.
Chinese enterprises have been conducting business in Sweden for over thirty years and remain a staunch force of bilateral economic and trade cooperation between China and Sweden. Recent years has witnessed even greater development of Chinese enterprises. At present, there are more than 30 Chinese-owned companies in Sweden with a total investment of over 3.6 billion USD, having created 17,000 jobs in Sweden and making them an important driver for Sino-Swedish trade and investment cooperation. Today, the founding of CCCS by Chinese enterprises in Sweden is a gratifying outcome of bilateral economic and trade development, bringing with it symbolic meaning. We hope that with the collective efforts of its members, CCCS will play a positive role and become a platform of exchange and a bridge between businesses and between businesses and governments as well as a carrier of investment promotions and a window of cultural exchanges. It doing so, it will give new impetus to Sino-Swedish cooperation and development and elevate bilateral economic and trade relations to a new level.
On this red-letter day, I would like to stress the following points: First, the stable development of China's economy is a strong support for Chinese enterprises going global. In recent years, faced with the severe challenges of the weak world economic recovery and domestic economic restructuring, China's economy has maintained stability while making steady progress, outperformed most major economies in growth rate. Its industrial growth, corporate profits, import and export, and investment have steadied and rebounded. During the first nine months of the year, China's GDP has increased by 6.7 percent year on year. Meanwhile, Chinese domestic investors carried out non-financial direct investment in 6,535 enterprises in 160 countries and regions, with total investments of US$ 134 billion, a year-on-year growth of 54 percent. Chinese investment in Sweden has also increased substantially, expanding at 21 percent, and increasing in terms of scale, quality and diversity of investments made.
Second, the deepening of China's reform and opening-up along with the increase in the rule of law provides a better environment for the development of foreign-owned enterprises. At the recently-concluded Sixth Plenary Session of 18th CPC Central Committee, President Xi Jinping reiterated the determination to comprehensively deepen reform, improve governance according to law and severely punish corruption. The Chinese government stays committed to creating an equitable, transparent and predictable policy environment for foreign investments, successively revising Catalogue for the Guidance of Foreign Investment Industries, amending fours laws including The Law of China-Foreign Equity Joint Venture and adopting 12 laws concerning intellectual property rights such as Trademark Law, and Law on the Protection of Consumer Rights and Interests, all of which greatly increases the openness to, and protection of, foreign investment. In the first ten months of the year, a total of 22,580 newly-established foreign-invested enterprises were approved, up 7.4 percent year on year. The actually utilized foreign direct investment in China reached US$104 billion, up 4.2 percent year on year, demonstrating that doing business in China has become easier across a broader range of investment.
Third, there are great prospects for Sino-Swedish and Sino-European economic and trade relationship, featuring equality and mutual benefit. Over the past forty years, the bilateral trade volume has increased over 110 times, and more than 500 Swedish enterprises have invested in China. The two sides cooperate fully with each other and the basis of these achievements is equality, mutual benefit and win-win cooperation. We hope that Sweden will continue to stick to free trade and play an active and constructive role in the European Union, so as to promote Sino-European trade relations along a sound and sustainable track.
It is December 8th today. According to Chinese traditional beliefs, the number "eight" symbolizes prosperity. In a few weeks, we will welcome the Chinese Lunar New Year of the Rooster. I wish all members of the Chinese Chamber of Commerce, our Swedish partners and all distinguished guests a flourishing Year of the Rooster, great success in your career.
Happy New Year!