|Statement by Ambassador Liu Zhenmin, Deputy Permanent Representative of China to the United Nations, at the Second Committee of the 62nd Session of the General Assembly on Agenda Items 57 (a) and 57 (b)|
|New York, 6 November 2007|
The Chinese Delegation would like to express its appreciation to the Secretary General for the reports submitted under agenda items 57 (a) and 57 (b) and thank Under-Secretary-General Mr. Diarra for his introduction to the abovementioned items. The Chinese Delegation associates itself with the statement made by the representative of Pakistan on behalf of the Group of 77 and China.
The least developed countries and landlocked developing countries are all developing countries. Development of those countries not only concerns their own development, but also bears on the overall development of the developing countries. They are deeply affected by economic globalization which has brought about tremendous challenges for them. For the sake of the common development of mankind, the international community is duty-bound to provide those countries with more help.
In recent years, the LDCs have vigorously pursued their own development, maintaining sustained economic growth and achieving gradual improvements in regard to social indicators. In 2006 the overall economic growth rate of the LDCs was close to 7 percent. However, their vulnerable position in the world economic system has not been fundamentally changed. In 2006, commodity trade and services trade of the LDCs made up only 0.83% and 0.46% respectively of the total trade volume of the world. They are faced with growing challenges in the midst of economic globalization and are encountering many difficulties in their pursuit of sustainable development.
The international community has the inescapable responsibility to effectively implement the Program of Action for the Least Developed Countries for the Decade 2001-2010. The mid-term review of the implementation of the Program of Action conducted in September last year was of important guiding significance to the timely fulfillment of the seven commitments contained in the Program of Action. The ministerial-level conference of the LDCs held in July this year further demonstrated the LDCs' determination to realize development. The coming three years will be a crucial period for the achievement of the objectives of the Program of Action. The international community, the developed countries in particular, should continually strengthen development partnerships and turn will into action and commitments into results as soon as possible. China calls upon countries, especially the developed countries, to further improve market access for the LDCs, effectively increase official development assistance, and continuously expand financial and technological support. The developed countries should waste no time in honoring the commitment of granting tariff and quota exemptions to the LDCs' products constituting at least 97% of all tariff items by 2008 and devote 0.15-0.2% of their gross national income to the official development assistance for the LDCs. At the same time, in considering the issue of graduation of the least developed countries, the international community should take full account of the economic vulnerability index, an important indicator concerning the sustainable development of the LDCs.
The Chinese government steadfastly supports the development of the least developed countries. It has done what it can to provide the LDCs with various kinds of assistance in an effort to fulfill the commitments contained in the Program of Action in a comprehensive and in-depth manner. In 2006, China cancelled all the interest-free governmental loans that matured by the end of 2005 owed by the African LDCs with diplomatic relations with China, and expanded the coverage of zero tariff treatment for their export to China from 190 tariff items to 454. In the next three years, China will, by 2009, double the volume of its aid to African countries over the level of 2006, establish a China-Africa development fund with the ultimate resource level at $5 billion, train 15,000 personnel in diverse areas for African countries, and help them develop large numbers of infrastructure and public interest projects. China is willing to further share development experience with the LDCs, transfer technologies to them, and deepen economic and trade cooperation with them, thus making greater contributions to the social and economic development of the LDCs.
Landlocked developing countries are faced with special difficulties in the process of economic globalization. Factors like geographical remoteness, infrastructure deficiencies, low transport efficiency and excessively high costs of trade have made it hard for the landlocked developing countries to effectively participate in and profit from international trade. In 2006, landlocked developing countries' exports and imports represented only 0.76% and 0.74% respectively of the world's total.
It is a widely held consensus and common responsibility of the international community to help landlocked developing countries lower costs of trade and achieve sustainable development. As the international community's firm political commitment and concrete action plan on helping landlocked developing countries, the Almaty Program of Action adopted in 2003 clearly established the priority areas and specific goals with regard to supporting landlocked developing countries. The mid-term review of the implementation of the Almaty Program of Action to be conducted next year will provide the international community with an important opportunity to make concerted efforts to help landlocked developing countries pursue development. We hope that all sides will work together, continue to display the spirit of global partnership demonstrated in the Program of Action, carry out in-depth discussions of the difficulties and challenges confronting landlocked developing countries, fully implement the commitments contained in the Program of Action, systematically evaluate the implementation of the Program of Action, and conduct comprehensive planning on key areas of cooperation in the future, all in an effort to advance the implementation of the commitments contained in the Program of Action.
The central and western regions of China are also mostly landlocked, therefore, we fully understand the concerns of landlocked developing countries and actively participate in transit transport cooperation. The Chinese government has made tremendous efforts to advance cooperation with neighboring landlocked developing countries. China has acceded to the Agreement for Facilitation of Transport in the Greater Mekong River Region and signed bilateral transit transport agreements with neighboring landlocked developing countries such as Kazakhstan and Mongolia. China actively participates in negotiations on a China-Mongolia-Russia Agreement on Transit Transport and supports the building of transnational transport channels such as the China-Kyrgyzstan-Uzbekistan Highway. China has provided aid in building the Laos segment of the Kunming-Bangkok Highway and helped countries such as Nepal strengthen the development of ports of entry. In addition, the Chinese government has worked vigorously to facilitate trade with neighboring landlocked developing countries and, on many occasions, provided training in the areas of customs and transportation for personnel from neighboring landlocked developing countries. The Chinese government has also worked to continuously improve the efficiency of transit transport and streamline customs procedures. In the future, the Chinese government will, under the principles of "equal consultation, mutual benefit, and common development," continue to comprehensively fulfill the commitments contained in the Almaty Program of Action and vigorously support the development of landlocked developing countries.
Thank you, Madam Chair.