|Interview of Ambassador HUANG Xingyuan on GOLD Magazine|
On March 17, 2019, GOLD Magazine published an interview of Ambassador Huang Xingyuan. The full text is as follows:
1.Chinese companies are now investing in Cyprus in many key sectors, including tourism, shipping and energy. Why is the world's biggest country with a population of 1.4 billion interested in doing business with a small island with just over 1 million people?
A:China Cyprus friendship has a long history and has a solid base of political mutual trust. Cyprus is located at the crossroads of Asia, Europe and Africa. It has a stable and safe society, complete and transparent legal system, advanced service sectors such as finance, law, accounting and consulting, favorable tax regime and a number of avoiding double taxation agreements, all of which make the country enjoy unique advantages in attracting foreign investment and conducting international economic and trade cooperations.
In 2013, Chinese President XI Jinping proposed the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) in the hope of delivering development opportunities to people all over the world under the principle of wide consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits. President Anastasiades expressed Cyprus' interest in participating in BRI on various occasions. President of Cyprus House of Representative Mr. Syllouris also supports Cyprus to play an active role within the EU to create connectivity between the maritime corridor and the Mediterranean sea. In October 2018 the legislatures from both countries signed an MOU on cooperation. Currently, both governments are negotiating on an MOU on BRI in order to provide policy guidance to full rounded co-operations between China and Cyprus.
2. Last year, you spoke about the "huge potential" offered by China's Belt & Road Initiative to increase bilateral trade to more than €1 billion. China is already investing in Cyprus but how can Cyprus increase its trade with China, beyond traditional products like wine and halloumi cheese? Do investment opportunities exist for Cypriot companies in China?
A: The economic and trade cooperation between China and Cyprus has developed smoothly in recent years, with bilateral trade booming and two-way investment increasing. According to China's statistics, our bilateral trade in 2018 reached 792 million USD, growing 34% over 2017. Cyprus exported 54million USD to China and there is plenty room for growth. China will host the Second China International Import Expo in November. Cypriot companies are welcome to attend this event and bring premium products and services to China.
China has entered the phase of high quality development. Deepening reform and further opening-up are China's main tasks. Cyprus is advanced in financial services and shipping services, while China is trying building a world class business environment to attract foreign investment. We encourage Cypriot companies to create synergies between their comparative advantages with China's vast market and increase investment in China, especially in regions with great potential such as the middle west and northeast region, and regions with favorable industrial ecosystem such as development zones, free trade zones and free trade ports.
3,It is understood that a growing number of Chinese citizens are taking advantage of the Cyprus Investment Programme to obtain Cypriot citizenship and consequent access to the EU. Some reports have stated that the Chinese government is trying to discourage such moves. What is the official view
A: The Chinese government always encourage Chinese enterprises to invest in oversea markets, including Cyprus market, on the basis of mutual benefits following market practice, and local laws and regulations. The investment can be in different forms. Like many other countries, China has published regulations on outbound investment, classifying them into three categories, i.e. encouraged, restricted and forbidden. One of the reason why outbound investment in property and hotels are not encouraged is because we want to curb irrational investment. This is also why we require Chinese enterprises which invest in this category to conduct thorough feasibility studies and invest in prudent manner, making sure the projects are real and compliant with relevant laws and regulations. As to some Chinese acquiring Cyprus citizenship through the Cyprus Investment Program, this is a result of two-way selection. It also demonstrates how charming Cyprus is.
4,Efforts are being made to encourage more tourism between Cyprus and China and, of course, the Chinese market is potentially enormous. Do you think that Cyprus has the right product to attract large numbers of Chinese visitors?
A: Chinese citizens make over 100 million overseas trips each year. There is strong demand for high quality and cost-effective overseas destinations. Cyprus has a long history, glorious civilization, picturesque sight and friendly people. During recent years, with the progress in communication and cooperation in different sectors, the number of Chinese people visiting Cyprus for investment, education and travel has grown rapidly. In 2018 the people-to-people exchange between our two countries has surpassed 10,000. Among them over 5000 Chinese visitors came to Cyprus. This is a record high and has realized the target of doubling the number which I set when I first took up my post. I believe with more marketing from the Cypriot side, our cooperation in the tourism sector will make greater achievements in the further.
5,Do you believe that Taiwan question can be resolved without military force? Do you believe that a solution will eventually be found and, if so, what will it be?
A:China has always unwaveringly taken resolving the Taiwan question to realize China's complete reunification as a historic task. Although the two sides of the Taiwan Strait are still not fully unified,China's sovereignty and territory have never been divided, the historical and legal facts that Taiwan is part of China and the two sides across the Taiwan Strait belong to one and the same China have never be altered.
As a friend of China, Cyprus has always accorded firm support to China's core interests concerning sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity. China highly appreciates this.
The principles of "peaceful reunification" and "one country, two systems" are the best approach to realizing national reunification. We are willing to strive for the prospect of peaceful reunification with the utmost sincerity and best efforts. The reason why we make no promise to renounce the use of force and reserve the option of taking all necessary means is only to target compatriots in Taiwan, but the interference of external forces and the very small number of "Taiwan independence" separatists and their activities. The ultimate solution is to get rid of any illusions of "Taiwan Independence" and realize the great cause of the reunification of the motherland.
6. China and the US have been in the news recently in the context of a perceived 'trade war', although there are now signs of agreement. Do you believe that all the world's major trading partners can eventually find a way of resolving their differences and move towards tariff-free trade?
A: In August 2017, US fired the first shot at China by launching a 301 investigation. The US has subsequently upgraded the situation through various actions. The Chinese side is forced to take counter measures, which is our legitimate right of self-defense. In December 2018 President Xi Jinping and President Trump met during the G20 Summit in Argentina. According to their consensus, currently teams from China and America are engaged in close negotiation. China and the United States shoulder an important responsibility for the development of the world economy and the rules of global trade. Concluding a deal between China and America is not only conducive to the development of both countries' economies, but also to the development of world economy.
We should keep in mind that free trade is an important pillar for modern economic system and is the cornerstone for the development and prosperity of a nation. With the development of globalization, economies of all countries has become deeply integrated with each other and all rise and fall together. This is an economic rule not subject to human will. The international community is now at a new crossroads. Cooperation or confrontation, opening-up or a close-door policy, mutual benefit or zero-sum game? Our choice will not only shape the interests of all countries but also the future of mankind. Looking back into history, I believe our mankind has enough wisdom to keep abreast of historic trends, settle differences, further promote trade and investment liberalization and facilitation, thus contributing to the steady growth of world economy.
7,The latest problem for China involves worries in Europe and elsewhere about the country's growing strength in communication technology, with Huawei's significant role in making China a 'cyber power' being questioned in particular. Are you worried about this? Do you think that other countries have anything to fear from China?
A: My answer is clear, there is no need for worries or fears.
Since China started the reform and opening up 40 years ago, China's economy has progressed a lot and a number of outstanding enterprises have emerged. One of them, Huawei, is now a leading telecommunication equipment supplier, providing high quality and low price equipment and services to telecommunications operators all over the world. It's safety and reliability is obvious to all. Take New Zealand for example. Huawei's 3G and 4G equipment has been in operation in New Zealand for over 10 years and never have them encountered a safety problem. Recently, certain countries are trying to exclude Huawei from supplying 5G equipment in the name of national security. I don't think it is a good idea of making oneself great by bullying outstanding enterprises from other countries through political means. Such actions would only be looked down upon by others. I hope that every country can make policy judgments based on facts, choose rationally, and jointly safeguard a fair and just market environment.