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Remarks by HE Ambassador Wu Xi at Annual CCCNZ Chinese New Year Charity Gala

Hon. Minister Shane Jones,
Hon. Minister Jenny Salesa,
Hon. Mayor Phil Goff,
Chairman Wang Lei,
Respected Members of Parliament,
Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,

Let me first thank the China Chamber of Commerce in New Zealand for giving me the honor to speak tonight. There's no better way to kick off the New Year by celebrating the spirit of philanthropy with business leaders of both countries. On behalf of the Chinese Embassy in New Zealand, let me extend my warm New Year greetings to all the friends here for a happy, prosperous and successful year of the Pig!

Ever since its founding in 2002, the Chamber has been fulfilling its mission to serve its members and to build a bridge between Chinese and New Zealand business communities. I want to thank President Wang Lei and commend the Chamber members for your contribution in advancing business ties between China and New Zealand. Over the years, you have made significant contributions not only to the bilateral trade, but also to the economic and social development of New Zealand by creating jobs and providing opportunities to the people. You have shared your success with the local community by fulfilling social responsibility and by extending a helping hand to those in need. The gala dinner tonight is the best example.

Business ties have been the most vibrant and productive component of our bilateral cooperation. It is also the bedrock and propeller of China-New Zealand relations. With highly complementary economies, our cooperation has delivered tangible benefits to both sides. Last year, our bilateral trade reached 17.9 billion US dollars, accounting for 22% of New Zealand's global trade and New Zealand's exports to China were 9.6 billion US dollars, which increased 12% year on year.

The success of our trade and economic cooperation made a very convincing case for stronger bilateral relations between our two countries. Since the establishment of diplomatic relations, we have made historic achievements and our cooperation in various fields have reached unprecedented breadth and depth. Our bilateral relationship has been on the forefront of China's relations with developed countries.

The journey of China-New Zealand relations proves that mutual benefit is the nature of our cooperation and mutual respect, the readiness to seek common ground while properly handle differences are the key to our success. Our partnership, which rests on solid complementarity, is well-positioned to be healthy, stable and resilient in a changing international environment.

The world we are living now is undergoing major development, transformation and adjustment. The trend toward multi-polarity and economic globalization is deepening, and countries are increasingly interdependent. We are facing common challenges that no country can tackle alone.

China and New Zealand are faced with similar challenges, such as the rapid development and application of new technologies and the stress such technologies are putting on our economies. But at the same time, the advancement of new technologies also presents unprecedented opportunities for innovation cooperation between our two countries.

We should intensify our cooperation in frontier areas such as digital economy, artificial intelligence and automation, so as to turn them into new driving force for our economic development. It is a shared understanding that new technology should be the window for our cooperation instead of a barrier for collaboration.

Last year, China celebrated the 40th anniversary of reform and opening-up. Reform has been a key contributor to the sustained and rapid growth of China over the past four decades. Looking forward, we will make even greater efforts to see the reform through and one of our top priorities is to foster a world-class business environment.

As President Xi said, "China will not shut its door to the outside world, but open it even wider". We will create a more open, favorable and inclusive business environment, providing a level playing field for all companies in China, both domestic and foreign, allowing them to share the opportunities of China's growth. At the same tine, we sincerely hope that other countries will also provide a fair, open and transparent business environment for Chinese companies abroad.

This year, we will celebrate the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China. We will continue to carry out reform and expand opening up. A more open and prosperous China will offer even greater opportunities to New Zealand. I believe business leaders from both countries will seize the opportunities and benefit even more from China's development.

The real work of turning the potential of our relationship into tangible benefits lies not only with the two governments, but also with business leaders and entrepreneurs like you.

Once again, I wish to express my heartfelt appreciation to all of you for your contributions and support to this very important relationship. I am convinced that through our joint efforts and hard work, we will bring a better future of China-New Zealand relations.

Thank you!

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