|Speech by H.E. Ambassador Liu Xinsheng at the Dinner of Cyprus Chamber of Commerce and Industry|
Seize Opportunities, Broaden Cooperation and Enjoy Bright Prospects
10 October, 2012
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I am delighted to attend this event tonight, to meet all the friends old and new from business sector. First of all, I wish to express sincere thanks to Cyprus Chamber of Commerce and Industry and Cyprus-China Business Association for your active effort to advance trade and economic ties between our countries. I also wish to pay high tribute to all the people who have been dedicated to the friendship and cooperation between China and Cyprus.
Cyprus is a beautiful and magical island which comprises both a rich history and a modern business environment. With a strategic location, ancient culture, dynamic economy and passionate people, this island beams with vigor and vitality. The traditional friendship between China and Cyprus goes back a long way and has grown over the years since the establishment of diplomatic relations in 1971. Thanks to the joint efforts from the leadership, governments and people of all walks of life in both countries, the bilateral relationship has always been developing in a smooth manner. Especially over recent years, the two countries have maintained frequent exchanges of high-level visits and deepened political mutual trust. Our countries have become all-weather friends and partners, and China-Cyprus relations have set a good example in building equality, friendship and cooperation between countries with different sizes, social systems and cultural backgrounds.
Our bilateral economic and trading relationship is strong and productive. The trade volume between China and Cyprus increased from € 0.15 billion in 2004 to € 1 billion in 2010, with an annual growth rate of almost 40 percent. China has maintained a sustainable growth on the import volume from Cyprus for 9 consecutive years. In 2011, against the backdrop of the debt crisis, the strong performance of exports from Cyprus to China remained a shining light at the difficult time, representing an appreciable growth of 44.7 percent year on year. In the first half of this year, the bilateral trade volume amounted to €0.4 billion, rising by 1.4 percent compared with the same period of last year, and the exports of Cyprus to China went up by 31.3 percent. Now China is Cyprus’s eighth-largest merchandise trading partner. The healthy and smooth development of economic and trading relations between China and Cyprus has brought and will continue to bring solid and tangible benefits to the peoples of the two countries.
Economic cooperation and bilateral investment also maintained positive development on the whole. By the end of July 2012, China's non-financial investment to Cyprus amounted to US $17.4 million and Cyprus' investment to China amounted to US $121 million. Over the same period, the accumulative amount of engineering project contract sighed by Chinese companies in Cyprus is US $235 million, and the accumulative turnover is US $265 million. The governments of both sides remain committed to promoting investment flows between our countries to further harness the potential of our deepening economic relationship. More and more Chinese business delegations visited Cyprus to explore the investment environment and to learn more about the opportunities and policies. The arrivals of Chinese visitors in 2011 was recorded as an increase of 45 percent year on year, and the Chinese arrivals in the first half of this year almost reached the total number of the previous year. We believe the visits of these delegations and entrepreneurs will further improve mutual understanding, reinforce bilateral cooperation, and strengthen the trade and business ties between our countries.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Despite a moderate slowdown in the first half of this year, China's economy still showed signs of stable growth, which is encouraging particularly against the fragile recovery of the world economy. China has focused on ensuring stable growth and price stability, adjusting economic structure, improving people's well-being, deepening reform and promoting harmony this year. These efforts have ensured the stable performance of China's economy, with its GDP growing by 7.8 percent year on year and retail sales increasing by 14.4 percent in the first half of the year. China would continue a proactive fiscal policy and a prudent monetary policy, ensure continuity and stability of macroeconomic policies, and make macroeconomic regulation more targeted, flexible and forward-looking. The trend of China's economic growth in the long term will continue as the fundamental driving forces for growth such as urbanization, industrialization and market-based reforms remain unchanged and the Chinese government is giving priorities to the transformation of mode of economic development and restructuring so as to improve the quality of growth.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
The global economy is recovering slowly, and there are still some destabilizing factors and uncertainties. China and Cyprus should optimize our own potentials, ensure healthy development of our respective economy and continue to build the sound platform that will service the long-term cooperation between our two countries. To deepen our economic cooperation, there is much room for us to explore. As a major centre for international business, Cyprus has sound investment environment and advanced service sector. Meanwhile, Chinese enterprises have strengths in shipping manufacture, solar energy industry and infrastructure construction such as telecommunication, electric power and ports. We should develop innovative ways of cooperation, expand the areas of cooperation and enhance the level of cooperation, so as to achieve more fruitful results and further enhance the bilateral relations of our countries.
My Dear Friends,
I would like to reiterate the importance of your contribution to the development of the bilateral relationship between China and Cyprus. This is a strong relationship, not just between governments, but between people. Thank you.