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Remarks by H.E. Ambassador LI Baodong at the Ministerial Roundtable of The Global Compact Summit

Madam Chair,

Dear Colleagues,

I am delighted to attend the Ministerial Roundtable of the Global Compact Summit and discuss with you the issue of corporate social responsibility.

Undertaking the Global Compact initiative is a useful way for the United Nations to enhance cooperation with the business community and NGOs. It is conducive to the adoption of internationally recognized ethical standards by businesses across the world, especially multinational companies, to the fostering of public-private partnerships around the world, and to joint efforts for common prosperity and sustainable development. Seven years after it was launched, the ideas of Global Compact have been extensively endorsed and have become a positive factor for balanced and win-win progress of globalization. I am confident that this meeting will build on past experience, foster new consensus and expand cooperation.

The central agenda of the Global Compact is to urge businesses to fulfill their due social responsibility. Companies, multinationals in particular, are the major drivers and beneficiaries of economic globalization and should, under the guidance of the Compact, work with governments to address the negative impacts of globalization and act as responsible corporate citizens. It is win-win for all, for it is a necessary part of companies' endeavor to build competitiveness and reach long-term development goals and is in the interest of all parties. On the theme of this meeting, "The Role of Government in Promoting Corporate Social Responsibility", the two keynote speakers have put forward some interesting views and recommendations concerning competitiveness and soft power. China believes that in promoting responsible corporate citizenship, governments should focus on the following aspects:

First, use the Global Compact as the main platform. The principles championed by the Compact originate from international instruments universally recognized by the United Nations membership. They represent global consensus in this area and should remain central to the promotion of corporate social responsibility among all countries.

Second, follow the principle of independent and voluntary participation. Joining the Global Compact and undertaking social responsibilities should remain a matter of voluntary decision by businesses themselves. Governments may welcome and encourage such participation and create an enabling environment for companies to do so. Yet nothing should be forced.

Third, promote related international cooperation in a balanced way. The Global Compact cannot be taken as an excuse to blame others. Nor should it be used to erect trade barriers. When formulating relevant international standards, it is important to consult all parties, developing countries in particular, and to take into full consideration the development stage and level of different countries and enterprises. More support and assistance should be given to enterprises from developing countries, especially small- and medium-sized ones. It is necessary to urge transnational companies to fulfill their global social responsibility and avoid applying double standards.

Fourth, create an enabling environment for international trade. Countries need to jointly implement the Shanghai Declaration of Global Compact Summit, work against trade protectionism, and build and strengthen an open, fair and non-discriminatory international trade regime. This will facilitate active participation in the Global Compact by enterprises from all countries.

Madam Chair,

Traditional Chinese business values stress the combination of ethics and profit and put equal emphasis on both high moral standards and concrete action. The concept of corporate responsibility of "loving each other for mutual benefit" put forward by Chinese philosopher Mo-tse over 2,000 years ago is consistent with the values that the Global Compact upholds. To bear social responsibility for harmonious development is what the Chinese Government and companies are striving for.

The Chinese Government follows the scientific thinking on development that guides China's economic and social development with the objective of building a harmonious society. This requires that companies shoulder their social responsibilities. The new Company Law of China mentions corporate social responsibility and calls on Chinese companies investing abroad to observe international rules and law of host country for a win-win outcome. The Chinese Government hosted the Global Compact Summit and encouraged more companies to join the initiative. Many Chinese companies have incorporated social responsibility into their development strategies. The Chinese business community established the Global Compact Promotion Office and the China Global Compact Network. More than 100 Chinese enterprises have joined the Global Compact. The China National Textile and Apparel Council has launched the China Social Compliance for Textile and Apparel Industry (CSC9000T), an industrial social responsibility development and management system. Some large Chinese companies began to publish social responsibility reports and put themselves under public scrutiny.

The Chinese Government will continue to work together with other members of the international community to make the Global Compact an important platform for enterprises from all countries to conduct exchanges and cooperation and promote global sustainable development.

Thank you, Madam Chair.

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