On June 1, Ambassador Qi Zhenhong published a signed article titled “Mutual Assistance for Joint development” on the Sri Lanka Guardian. Here is the full text:
Since the beginning of the year, despite the multiple challenges brought by the grave and complex situation internationally and the frequent outbreaks of the COVID-19 at home, the Chinese economy has withstood pressure and got off to a stable start. The gross domestic product (GDP) in the first quarter reached CNY 27,017.8 billion (USD 4.25 trillion), registering a year-on-year growth of 4.8%, ranking among the top worldwide. China continues to be the major stabilizer and growth engine of the global economy, which was highlighted by:
First, consumer price experienced mild growth. The consumer price index (CPI) grew by 1.1% year on year, lower than the expected target of 3% and significantly below that of the world’s major economies.
Second, employment was stable in general. The newly increased employed people in urban areas numbered 2.85 million and the urban surveyed unemployment rate averaged 5.5%.
Third, industrial structure was further adjusted and optimized. The value added of high-tech manufacturing and equipment manufacturing increased by 14.2% and 8.1% respectively. The information service industry has developed rapidly and investment in high-tech industries grew fast.
Fourth, efforts to revitalize industrial development worked well. Growth of industrial production picked up. The value added of industrial enterprises above the designated size grew by 6.5% year on year, 2.6% higher than the previous quarter.
Fifth, investment growth rebounded significantly. The total planned investment of newly started projects increased by 54.9% over the same period of last year. Investment in fixed assets grew by 9.3%. Specifically, private investment, investment in manufacturing and infrastructure went up by 8.4%, 15.6% and 8.5% respectively.
Sixth, foreign trade and foreign investment remained stable. The value of merchandise exports reached USD 803.2 billion, up by 16% year on year; that of merchandise imports was USD 658.2 billion, up by 15%. Foreign investment in actual use was USD 59.09 billion, up by 31.7%.
Seventh, people’s livelihood was strongly and effectively safeguarded. The real growth rate of nationwide per capita disposable income of residents, after deducting price factors, was 5.1%, basically in line with economic growth. Market supply of grain, meat, eggs, etc. was sufficient and prices were stable with some declines. Investment to improve people’s livelihood has continued to increase and capacity to serve the public was improving steadily.
Eighth, financing cost for enterprises further decreased. By the end of March, the balance of broad money supply and the stock of social financing rose by 9.7% and 10.6% respectively. In the first quarter, corporate loan interest rate was 4.39%, down by 0.22% over the same period of last year.
Globally, the COVID-19 is still spreading and geopolitical conflicts are intensifying; the industrial and supply chains have been disrupted; contradiction between the supply and demand of bulk commodities is prominent; the International Monetary Fund (IMF) recently lowered its forecast for world economic growth in 2022 to 3.6%. The Chinese economy is also faced with some difficulties, but its fundamentals, that will sustain stable and long-term growth and are characterized by strong resilience, enormous potential and broad space, remain unchanged. The Chinese government has stepped up the implementation of macro policies and strengthened cross- and counter-cyclical adjustments; actively implemented measures to stabilize employment, protect people’s livelihood, expand consumption, and promote investment; deepened reform and expanded opening up, providing a solid guarantee for the sustainable and healthy development of the domestic economy and a strong support for world economic recovery.
China and Sri Lanka are good neighbors helping each other, good friends treating each other with respect and trust, and good partners in mutually beneficial cooperation. Sri Lanka is confronted with an economic crisis, bringing inconvenience to people’s daily life and sometimes social instability. We feel the same as our Sri Lankan friends during this trying time. To help Sri Lanka overcome the current difficulties, the Chinese government has decided to provide RMB 500 million (approximately USD 76 million) of emergency humanitarian assistance. The International Department of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, the Yunnan Province and other local governments, China Foundation for Poverty Alleviation, the Red Cross Society of China and even pupils from the Caihe No.3 Primary School in Hangzhou also lend a hand. Sri Lanka has a long history of civilization and its people are of great wisdom. We sincerely hope that Sri Lanka could maintain unity and stability and will continue to offer support within our capabilities. We believe that Sri Lanka will definitely be able to get out of the immediate predicament and achieve economic and social stability and development at an early date.