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Statement by Ambassador Wang Guangya at Round Table Meeting on Effects of International Migration on Economic and Social Development
2006/09/14

2006/09/14

Mme. Chairperson,

Migration is a global factor. It does not just happen between two countries or within one region. Every country can feel, to various degrees, the effects of migration on economic and social development. Migration and development is a subject that requires our shared attention. We should firstly fully affirm the positive role played by the immigrants. Migration is both an outcome of economic and social development and an important stimulant to economic and social development. Now I wish to talk more specifically in the following areas:

1. Migration enhances exchanges. Global population flow has greatly enriched material and cultural life of all countries, enhanced economic, social and cultural exchanges in the world, and added vigor and splendor to the world. Today's international migration has become a pivot closely linking different cultures, economies and societies.

2. Migration optimizes allocation of resources. Normal migrant flow enables human, technical and financial resources to be allocated more freely and extensively. In particular, migration can help reduce the employment pressure on countries with labor surplus and ease the burden on countries with insufficient labor force. Countries concerned should cooperate and build mechanism at global level to encourage the flow of professionals. This is conducive to common economic and social development of all countries.

3. Migration reduces poverty. The contribution made by immigrants in this regard has been widely recognized by the international community. By sending back their incomes to improve their families' welfare and using remittance and skills to reinvest, the immigrants have helped reduce poverty of their countries of origin. Countries should incorporate the migration factor in their poverty reduction strategy, and financial departments should lower the transaction fees for remittance from abroad. We also believe that though remittance, as private financial flow, has vigorously enhanced economic and social development of countries of origin, it cannot be put on a par with the ODA. Remittance from abroad cannot replace assistance.

It is undeniable that migration may also have negative effects on economic and social development. I think currently there are two issues worth our special attention.

1. It is essential to build a harmonious society. Due to cultural differences and religious beliefs, some immigrants are faced with discrimination in recipient countries and find it hard to be integrated into the society. Only by helping them be integrated into the society, can social coherence be strengthened and can the immigrants contribute to local economic and social development to the greatest extent. Countries need to remove discriminative behaviors through enforcing policies, laws and regulations, encourage harmonious co-existence among different ethnic groups, and help immigrants be integrated into local societies.

2. It is necessary to avoid one-way flow of professionals. Professionals and skills should flow on both ways. Regrettably, the current unbalanced global economic and social development has led to the one-way flow of professionals to developed countries. Many developing countries, including China, have suffered huge losses of "brain drain". In recent years, we have incorporated into our national development plan such elements as award foundation, tax reduction and exemption, and simplified entry/exit procedures to encourage Chinese students aboard to come back to work. This has eased, to certain extent, the "brain drain". We are ready to strengthen exchange with others in this regard. We hope that the developed countries and the developing countries will establish patterns for normal flow of professionals.

Mme. Chairperson,

Migration is an issue of huge complexity. National governments, in formulating relevant policies, should give comprehensive consideration to the political, economic, social and cultural factors, strengthen coordination among departments concerned, and lead migration to an orderly flow. At the same time, international cooperation is also an important means to handle the migration issue. The United Nations and other international organizations should enhance migration cooperation among countries and strengthen capacity building of national governments. In this regard, the developed countries should shoulder greater responsibilities.

The Chinese side is glad to note that the international community has attached great importance to this high-level dialogue on international migration and development. We hope that we will make good use of this opportunity, act in a broad-minded manner and innovative spirit, and find a way of virtuous interaction at an early date, which will allow migration to better promote development and enable development to better serve migration. This will surely facilitate our efforts to build a more harmonious society at the global level.

Thank you, Mme. Chairperson.

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