By Zhao Cheng, Li Yingqi, People’s Daily
Bill Gates said he was glad to be part of the China International Import Expo during a recent exclusive interview with People’s Daily.
Gates praised China’s new achievements on poverty reduction and innovation when addressing the first Hongqiao International Economic and Trade Forum, which was held on the sidelines of the China International Import Expo (CIIE) in Shanghai on Nov 5, the opening day of CIIE.
He also hailed Chinese President Xi Jinping’s remarks in the latter’s speech at the opening ceremony of the CIIE that China will open still wider.
“I am a big believer in the win-win nature of free trade,” Gates told People’s Daily, adding that all the leaders at the CIIE were very strong on this point.
He took breakthroughs in medicine as an example, saying that the US wants Chinese breakthroughs and China wants US breakthroughs. He believes that there is much to do to avoid zero-sum mentality.
“New Era, Shared Future” is the theme of the CIIE. Gates holds that “Shared Future” means China connecting to the entire world, and to help the countries that are further behind China is an important part of that.
With the FOCAC and the Belt and Road Initiative, China is doing even more to share the lessons that it has learned, including the very ambitious goal of getting rid of extreme poverty completely by 2020, Gates noted.
He remarked that the “Shared Future” is very much an intersection with the basic priority of the Gates Foundation, expressing his hope to establish partnerships with China on aid projects.
On poverty reduction, disease control, and agricultural technologies, the Gates Foundation, together with its Chinese partners, have actively started exploration and research, as well as expanded third-party cooperation in Africa, so as to make contribution to Africa’s sustainable development and the joint construction of the Belt and Road.
During the interview, Gates introduced his cooperation on the “reinvented toilet”. He said that China has achieved huge progress in health improvement for its hundreds of millions of people over the last few decades, and the recent “toilet revolution” campaign also reflected the country’s resolution to improve toilet sanitation and safety.
“Our goal is to eventually have the price be so low that even in an African city, that fairly poor people can afford to have this breakthrough toilet in their home,” Gates said.
During his trip to China, Gates attended the opening ceremony of the Global Health Drug Discovery Institute (GHDDI). He noted he is optimistic about China’s capability of research and innovation, saying China is investing in the basic research budget and it’s growing very quickly.
“We’ve had collaborations with groups like CNBG (China National Biotec Group) that has made special vaccines here with literally hundreds of millions of units of those vaccines going out to poor countries. As we’ve done particular projects, we are building on the success of those. We are actually doing more now,” Gates told People’s Daily.
Innovation is an important factor to achieve the 2030 UN Sustainable Development Goals, and China has become a key part in advancing global progress and innovation, he said.
2018 marks the 40th anniversary of China’s reform and opening up. In this regard, Gates noted that what China has done was just incredible.
“The 70% poverty reduction in the world came because these 40 years, those policies have utterly changed the income level and what you expect in terms of health and infrastructure,” Gates told People’s Daily.
According to Gates, when he first came to China 25 years ago, it was hard for him to see that China would not only get rid of poverty, but also in so many issues move to the forefront, with great scientists and world-leading companies.
The Informal Senior Officials Meeting of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) is about to kick off in Papua New Guinea. Gates told People’s Daily that each party wanted to have more infrastructure so that trade can work easily.
He believes that it requires a lot of communication to make sure that cooperation projects are mutually beneficial. China is actively engaged in global forums such as the APEC and played an important role, Gates added.