"Britain and China work best by working together"
On 10th June, the six-day ‘Sino-European Entrepreneur Summit’ kicked off at the Ironmongers' Hall in London, England. With the theme of “Innovation, Recovery, and Win-Win: A New Era of Business Cooperation between China and Europe”. The summit will revolve around finance, creative culture and medical health. Speeches and discussions will provide an in-depth analysis of the China-EU political, economic, and market environment, as well as jointly explore the international development strategy of enterprises, look forward to China-Europe business innovation cooperation, and seek ways to promote bilateral inclusive economic growth. Rt Hon Gordon Brown attendeded the event to give a keynote speech to political figures, entrepreneurial leaders, experts, scholars and businessmen on the importance of cooperation between China and the United Kingdom.
"Ladies and Gentlemen, let me say, first of all on behalf of the whole of population of United Kingdom, to all our friends who have come here today from China, you are most welcome in the United Kingdom. The contribution you make to our economy is much appreciated. The increase in cross-cultural understanding between our two countries is something that we value greatly. And the cooperation agreements that have been signed in only the last few minutes is a testimony to the expansion of the contact and communication between our two countries to the benefit of everyone. And so I want to thank the summit here and to all those who are part of the organizing group for bringing us together Britain and China in such a positive and constructive way.
This heralds great future for the relationship between our two countries. I want also to give special appreciation to my friend, Mr. Long Yongtu. I think many of us remember that he was the negotiator who brought China into the World Trade Organization, and did so much to build bridges between the countries of the West and the countries of Asia, and particularly China. And so we are in a debt of gratitude to Mr. Long Yongtu, who I count as a great friend. And I would ask you all to thank him for the work he does to further Chinese and United Kingdom understanding.
Now we meet here at a difficult time in many ways, but also a time of opportunity. First of all, I have to apologize for the weather. Because, in my country, Scotland, further to the north, we say there are only two seasons, July and Winter. I'm afraid that we're proving that the rainy weather has continued much longer in London, so I hope you will have a chance to see good weather in the next day or two. I want to also say that the mayor of London, my friend, said he would have loved to have been with you today, but I know he welcomes the cooperation that is taking place within China and the United Kingdom.
And you know, we are at a time of change in Britain as well because if the prime minister had been able to come, I don't know which person would have come because we are in the process of choosing a new Prime Minister at this very moment when nominations close today for this position. But you know, I want to start my remarks by paying tribute to the success of China over these last thirty or forty years when I have been involved in public life. No country has achieved a higher rate of growth for longer in the history of the world than has been achieved by the Chinese people. To have a growth of more than ten percent for most of the last thirty years. And now as you have become a mature economy to a growth of more than six percent, regularly, as you have now, is an achievement that has not been paralleled in the history of any continent in any part of the world, at any time in our history.
I also want to pay tribute to the achievement of China, because you have taken more people out of poverty in these last thirty years than any country in history to have taken more than seven hundred million people out of the perils and the suffering of being poor citizens and made them middle-class and working-class people who are doing far better for themselves. This is something that no country has achieved and I am the United Nations special envoy for global education, so I can say this with all the facts at my disposal, but no country has moved so quickly in such a short period of time to achieve universal education to achieve education for most of your young children, as you have in just over a period of thirty years.
And to be turning out now eight million records from your universities every year is something that shows that China is leading the world in developing at a faster rate, the number of graduate students who are going to benefit from higher education. So for all these reasons, we as a world community are in debt to the development of China. And now I understand that China is moving into a new phase of development. When I last met your president, President Xi whom I have had the privilege of meeting on several occasions and your Premier in China, when I last met the president when he was in the United Kingdom, he said to me, we have two objectives for the country.
The first, he said, is that “we will avoid the middle-income trap. Now, so many countries that get to a certain point, as China has, are unable to move from middle income to higher income.” “China”, he said, “will bridge, will spring, as he called it, the middle-income trap”. And he said also, and this is important for world peace, and it's an important message that he communicated at a time when we worry about the relationships particularly between China and America. He said to me, “we are going to avoid the two cities trap.”
And that is the trap that countries of past history have fallen into when a rising power challenges an established power and the result is conflict. He wanted, he said, a peaceful world where countries can work together. And my message today is also about cooperation, about cooperation between our two countries. And I want to emphasize in those areas where I believe we can make progress, indeed are making progress and could do even better in the times to come. I know that China's objective is to move from an export-driven investment driven economy to a consumer-driven economy, where the rise of the middle class and the rise of people from poverty is served best by a strong consumer economy in the future, where we are in a high-income country, China in the years to come. I know that you're moving into new areas of technology, areas where innovation is the key, areas where it is not simply the production of mass-produced goods but technology-driven products custom built goods, precision products for the future. And I know that already you have seventy-five percent of the electric car market. You have sixty percent of a solar car market. You have forty percent of the mobile infrastructure market of the world, as well as fifty percent of steel and fifty percent of iron, fifty percent of the coal market in the world serving the Chinese economy.
So you are moving into new areas in high technology and innovation and you are in a position to lead in many of these areas in the years to come. But you know that the best future lies in cooperation, cooperation between countries, particularly the countries of the West and China. And you know also, at a time when there are tensions between America and China, it is important that we re-enforce the understanding that exists between Europe and China, and in this case, between the United Kingdom and China. I want to say that while I oppose Britain leaving the European Union, but we will still be as determined whether inside or outside the European Union to have the strongest possible relationship with China.
Next week, the Chinese vice premier comes to London to meet the chances of the exchequer, the finance minister, I used to hold that job, but it is now being held by Mr. Hammond, and he will meet the Vice Premier of China to resume a strategic and financial and economic dialogue. A whole delegation will come from China of business leaders, and others as part of this discussion. There will be an energy dialogue next week. There will also be a dialogue on migration because of the importance we attached to students particularly, but also tourists coming in and out of our country as we also have tourists and students studying in China.
So while there was a difficult era of relationships over the last year or two between China and the United Kingdom, the positive signs are there in the strategic dialogue, in the energy dialogue, in the migration dialogue. And we look forward to the next stage, which is the people to people dialogue that we will have and also a dialogue on science. And all these dialogues are important to the understanding we can build for the future. I believe in these areas we can make rapid progress, just as we hope there will be progress in a European - China investment agreement, which is now being discussed in Europe and in China, as we speak, with issues of financial services and others being on the table for resolution and the disputes procedure being agreed where there are difficulties and finding a better way of overcoming them.
And we look forward to trade agreements between China and the United Kingdom in the time to come. You see whether there was a cold war between the West and Russia, there was very little contact for thirty, forty, fifty years. Very few students came between Russia and America, or Russia and western Europe and the United Kingdom. There was a major dispute about the role of markets and whether markets indeed had a role to play in the economy. We believe that the cooperation that we can build is based today on contact - students coming in and out. There are now more students coming to the United Kingdom than go to America and we want as many students to use our universities and colleges perhaps a hundred thousand or more and you are welcome, all students who come to this country. And future relationships will be built not only on the Cold War, when there was very little contact between countries, but on communication and deed and interchange. not just of people but an interchange of ideas.
And I want to suggest to you the areas as I speak, the areas where contact and communication and understanding can be extended over the next period of time. First of all, the Silk Road, the ‘Belt and Road Initiative’, very important to China, but also important to the future of Europe. When you think of it, we have this vast land area, thirty percent of the world's land, but seventy percent of the world's population, Europe and Asia together. We now not only have a maritime route, but we have a land route, and the trains are coming from Beijing and coming through to London, such as the degree of contact over thousands of miles, made possible through the landward route and the Silk Road means that your Eurasia will be an important area of economic activity in the years to come.
Yes thirty percent of the landmass, seventy percent of the population. With Africa rising in numbers, of course, we may be less of the population of Eurasia in the years to come, but we will be a higher share of world economic activity. Perhaps seventy percent in a decade or two’s time of all economic activity will be within Europe and Asia, within Eurasia, and of course, the Silk Road with its investment in infrastructure makes that possible. The trade links that we can build today make that possible. Of course, there are disagreements about how the arrangements are going to be made in the years to come and these can be ironed out. But nobody should lose sight of the opportunity that this huge Eurasian block can bring from the prosperity of not just Eurasia, but the prosperity of the world and the growing middle class of the world, growing in Europe, growing in Asia, in particular, growing in Asia and the largest share of that global middle class will be in Eurasia, and it will be the biggest consumer market in the world.
It will double in size over the next twenty or twenty-five years in economic power and output. And it means there are twice the opportunities over these next twenty-five years for businesses, for new technologies for innovative people and that trading area is going to be important for the years to come. And secondly, infrastructure and of course the Silk Road is important to the development of infrastructure as you build rail, road and other things across Asia and across Europe. And I know there's very big Chinese investment taking place in infrastructure, not just in eastern Europe but in western Europe and in Britain. And some of our biggest infrastructure projects including nuclear power, but also including at the energy side, Chinese investment is vitally important to that and we can cooperate on infrastructure.
I happen to believe that the city of London has enormous expertise in bringing contracts together, not just financial but legal and business expertise. And of course, China has some of the greatest engineering expertise in the world. So the development of contact and communication and cooperation in the area of infrastructure and many of you here will be involved in infrastructure in one way or another, is involved in the years to come. And then technology, yes, we have our issues, but we have to resolve, Huawei and other technology transfer projects. And yes, that will be part of a continuing debate.
But I just say the decision about Huawei and about technology in Britain should be made for Britain's interests and not for anybody else's interests, and that I think the British government will insist upon. But the scope for technology contact and this job for the transfer of technology, when done in a way that everybody agrees is best, is enormous in the years to come. When you think of it, the car industry is changing out of all recognition, electric cars, driverless cars, non-diesel cars. The amount of investment in the car industry in the years to come is going to be absolutely massive, both in China, in Asia and right across Europe and America.
And the scope, of course, for cooperation, which started with Rover and JLR from the Midlands of Britain as the scope for the British and Chinese corporation is very high. And I say then about entrepreneurship, we learn from each other all the time. We learn from what good businesses do that can be translated as entrepreneurial skill and entrepreneurial advice into every other part of the world. And similarly, we learn from what you're doing here. And this summit is a microcosm of everything that is happening in enterprise, that we learned by talking to each other and interacting by the contact that is now possible, happening today and in other cities between businesses here and businesses in China. And that is going to be hugely important for the future. Hugely important in Britain, but also in Europe because this is the European entrepreneurs summer and we are privileged that you've decided to have this summit this year in London. And I have spoken on a number of occasions in Paris when you had the summit there, an equally we are pleased that you continue to hold this summit at such important venues right across Europe. Cooperation also in silence, let me give you one example, the International Space Station, the International Space Station up there. So many countries now operating the station. I think it was wrong that the American Senate refused to allow China to be part of that project, and we in Britain would like to see China as part of the cooperative projects in space instead of two systems developing in space, it would be far better if we had one and I'll come back to that in a minute. But in just about every area we will benefit from cooperation.
Now we have our issues when we discuss with each other what the best future is. We want a human rights dialogue between China and Britain because we believe that we can learn from each other on these issues. And all the time I was a Prime Minister I insisted that the human rights dialogue went alongside the strategic economic dialogue, the science dialogue, the migration dialogue and the other person to person dialogues we have. And so there is huge scope for cooperation. Let me just say there is also scope for cooperation on the reform of the international institutions because just think about it, the international monetary fund and the World Bank and the World Trade Organization. They were all built in the years after 1945. They are not adjusted to the new realities of an interdependent global economy. They were built for the age when countries traded far less with each other when there was no global financial market with its name where there was no global supply chain of any huge significance. Yes, there were resources that were being bought from other countries. But the notion of a global value chain, which is what we talk about today was not there and so we need new forms of cooperation. And I think it's wrong that the international monetary fund has only four percent of its shares held by China, when of course China is such a big economy, it’s wrong that the World Bank has only four percent of the shares held by China, when of course, China is a far bigger share of the world economy. It's wrong too, that Europe has fifty percent of the shares and the BRIC countries: China, India, South Africa, Brazil and Russia have only around ten percent of the shares. So, we must join together in building the international institutions that work for the future. And that is another project of cooperation that I believe we can all play our part in doing. And I give you one example, Africa will be two and a half billion people by 2050. It will be a third of the world's population, but it will have ninety percent of the world's poverty. Only one percent of the world's manufacturing investment is in China. And while some countries in Africa where the same level of development as China thirty years ago, they have fallen far behind the expanding China and a much to learn in economic policy from what China has achieved. But we can cooperate together to bring China into the world economy. I mentioned the last time I spoke here a project called INGA, which was created energy out of Africa through hydropower. It is the biggest source of energy, potentially forty percent of Africa's energy.
It is bigger than the Three Gorges Dam, but if the West can cooperate with China, with its engineering expertise, as we are proposing, I talked to Mr. Liu He your Vice Premier about this, that what could be achieved by cooperating together, ‘the world working as one’ to achieve a project that relieves the poverty of the poorest country in the world. Now, think ahead, the opportunities that arise as the world economy doubles over the twenty to twenty-five years. Equally, the opportunity arises as the middle class of the world, which was one billion people in 1990 becomes two billion in 2010; three billion in 2015, three point five to three point eight billion now, will be five billion in 2030. That’s people earning over ten dollars a day as individuals or as household income. So the middle class has grown so fast.
As I said earlier, there are opportunities for everyone and every company, you do not need a lose-lose you need a win-win policy for the world economy. You do not do what President Trump does and suggest that there is only one winner whenever there's a debate on whenever there’s a contract or whenever there's an enterprise. You see how you could win both sides by working together. And there's no doubt that these huge opportunities exist in the world economy. If we can find a better way of working together. You know, if I come back to the space race in the 1950’s and 1960’s and 1970’s, America and Russia fought each other in the most bitter fire as to who would first get to the moon, who would be the leader in space? And they fought it out, Yuri Gagarin from Russia and John Glenn from America, Sputnik from Russia, the Apollo landing on the moon, and America claimed victory in the space race.
And you know by the 1980’s and 1990’s they realized, what was the point in them fighting each other when there was so much unexplored territory in the world? What was the point in two countries at daggers drawn if there was something we could achieve together by exploring in the world? And if we can find a way, as they did with the International Space Station of cooperating out there in the outer hemisphere in an area that was previously bitterly contested in one of the most sensitive areas for security in any part of our planet, then surely we can find better ways of cooperating here on Earth. And this is the way all, yes, there will be disagreements, yes, there will be issues that have to be resolved, yes, technology transfer is an issue as people think it is forced. Yes, if there are security implications that have not been taken into account, people will raise them. But we here in Britain believe that the way forward is to cooperate, not confront, to work together to solve the problems. Progress is not one country advancing just at the expense of another, but all of us working together. There is more that unites us that can ever divide us. This entrepreneur summit is sums it all up, by coming together British, European and Chinese entrepreneurs, we can prove that by our contact and our communication and by our constructive dialogue. And by now the inter-cultural understanding; we can build new technologies together; we can build new companies together; we can develop our infrastructure together; we can develop the Silk Road and the context between Asia and Europe together; our science can be improved; entrepreneurship itself can be extended; and we can do more to relieve the injustices of poverty and inequality to make the world a better place. So what you're doing today and what you sign this afternoon and what the context will bring in the next day or two as you meet together is indeed the historic. We work together, and by working together, we make for a better world. Britain and China work best by working together. Thank you very much.”
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