Ladies and Gentlemen, Dear Friends, The past decade has not only seen solid progress in the BRICS cooperation mechanism; it has also witnessed the unfolding of all-round reform and opening up in China and its rapid economic and social development. Over these ten years, China's economic aggregate has grown by 239% and its total volume of exports and imports in goods risen by 73%. China has become the world's second largest economy, the lives of its 1.3 billion-plus people have been significantly improved, and China has made increasingly greater contribution to both regional and global economic development.
It is true that as China's reform endeavors have entered a crucial stage where tough challenges must be met, some underlying difficulties and problems have surfaced, which must be addressed with resolve and determination. As a Chinese saying goes, "Effective medicine tastes bitter." The medicine that we have prescribed for ourselves is to carry out all-round reform. Over the past five years, we have adopted over 1,500 reform measures covering all sectors, with breakthroughs made in multiple areas, and the reform is being pursued with greater intensity. The pace of economic structural adjustment and industrial upgrading has accelerated. China's economy has maintained steady and sound performance, and new drivers sustaining development have grown in strength. In the first half of this year, China's economy grew by 6.9%, the value added from services accounted for 54.1% of the GDP, and 7.35 million urban jobs were created. All these achievements have proven that deepening all-round reform is the right path that we should continue to follow.
Going forward, China will continue to put into practice the vision of innovative, coordinated, green, open and inclusive development. We will adapt to and steer the new normal of economic development, push forward supply-side structural reform, accelerate the building of a new system for an open economy, drive economic development with innovation, and achieve sustainable development. China will stay firmly committed to peaceful development and make even greater contribution to global peace and development.
Last May, China successfully hosted the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation, which was attended by 29 heads of state or government and over 1,600 representatives from more than 140 countries and 80-plus international organizations. This ushered in a new stage of translating the Belt and Road Initiative from vision to action and from planning to implementation. Forum participants discussed ways of promoting cooperation and development and reached broad consensus. Let me make this clear: The Belt and Road Initiative is not a tool to advance any geopolitical agenda, but a platform for practical cooperation. It is not a foreign aid scheme, but an initiative for interconnected development which calls for extensive consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits. I am convinced that the Belt and Road Initiative will serve as a new platform for all countries to achieve win-win cooperation and that it will create new opportunities for implementing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
The business community of the BRICS countries is the main force driving our economic development. Over the last decade, you have incorporated business development into BRICS cooperation, thus making important contribution to forging BRICS economic partnerships. The reason why we are holding the Business Forum on the eve of the Summit is to solicit your views and advice, so that we can work together to make the Xiamen Summit a success and enable BRICS cooperation to deliver. I hope you will leverage your strengths in terms of information, technology and funding to launch more practical and mutually beneficial cooperation projects that benefit our countries and peoples. What you do will help spur economic and social development and improve people's lives. The Chinese government will continue to encourage Chinese companies to operate and take root in other countries, and likewise, we also warmly welcome foreign companies to invest and operate in China.
Ladies and Gentlemen, Dear Friends, We BRICS countries will enter a second decade of more vibrant growth. Let us work together with other members of the international community. Let our cooperation deliver more benefits to the peoples of our five countries. Let the benefits of global peace and development reach all the people in the world.In conclusion, I wish the Business Forum every success. Thank you!