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70 10 Foreign Trade: The Vanguard for Shanghai’s Development of an Externally Oriented Economy1 May 4, 1988 The leaders of Shanghai’s Foreign Trade Commission have asked me to meet with you all and boost your spirits. In response, I can first point to the good results of foreign trade in the first quarter of this year. Exports increased by 21% in this period, which isn’t low. This number is most encouraging, and I want to express my thanks to you. However, it now appears that if we don’t meet our target of earning US$4.3 billion in forex this year, we won’t be able to overcome our difficulties! I’m not overstating this target—nowadays we even need forex to buy rice to eat. When the heavy oil runs out, there will be power stoppages, and we will need to exchange forex for heavy oil. The question now is whether we have the ability to earn the forex, to fulfill our RMB 10.5 billion fiscal contract obligation, and to turn over US$1.5 billion in forex [to the central government]. Only then will we in Shanghai be able to stand tall when we speak—at the moment we cannot do so. I hope you will all keep up your good efforts and maintain this good situation —although I know it wasn’t easy for you to achieve these results. For instance, this year’s “little trade fair”2 took place just at the height of the hepatitis epidemic3 —it was Shanghai’s darkest moment. When we went to Beijing, we all became personae non gratae. Even under such circumstances, turnover surpassed last year’s. You were previously commended for this, and I know it wasn’t easy to achieve—people from Shanghai are able to find ways, after all. Recently Shanghai was again in the front ranks of the Guangzhou Trade Fair—that’s very good. I think you should feel encouraged. Now—especially 1. Zhu Rongji delivered this speech at a meeting for cadres from the Shanghai foreign trade sector who were section chiefs or higher. 2. The “little trade fair” was the sixth Shanghai Foreign Trade Fair held at the Shanghai Exhibition Center on March 1–10, 1988. 3. A hepatitis A epidemic broke out in Shanghai in January 1988 and spread explosively. It was caused by the consumption of infected clams by part of the population. The epidemic was brought under control by mid-March, leaving a total of 292,000 victims. Zhu_Shanghai Years_1987-1991_hc_9780815731399_i-xii_1-620.indd 70 12/26/17 12:00 PM Foreign Trade: The Vanguard for Development of an Externally Oriented Economy 71 after we carry out some reforms, devolve powers, and generate enthusiasm in the districts and counties—we will be able to give Guangdong some competition in the “3+1” industries.4 Next we’ll set up the “one-chop” agency, simplify approval procedures, and improve the investment environment so that there’s a substantial increase in the amount of foreign capital attracted. Then this year’s difficulties will be eased. Training Personnel in Foreign Trade Our municipal foreign trade sector has held many classes to help the districts and counties train personnel in foreign trade—this is a very commendable approach. Despite the criticism being leveled at the slogan “Let everyone engage in commerce,” I think everyone in Shanghai needs to know a little about foreign trade. Shanghai is an externally oriented city. It has to have dealings with foreigners, it has to make money from these transactions, so it has to learn these skills. That’s why when you in the foreign trade sector make great efforts to train cadres from all professions from the districts and counties and from the grass roots—when you help them learn about technical cooperation in foreign economic dealings; when you help them learn some of the rules, methods, international norms, and basics of foreign trade finance; when you instill some knowledge in them so that they’re not at a disadvantage when dealing with foreigners —this is a tremendously important role. It isn’t enough just to rely on the 34,000 people in our foreign trade sector, as I think a considerable number of you will eventually be stationed abroad. We need a very large team so that we can have people stationed for a long term in all countries, learning about the state of their markets, relationships, and channels. Without such a...


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