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Chinese wisdom lends vitality to global economic governance
Author :  Sheng Bin Source : Chinese Social Sciences Today 2016-11-14
Since the financial crisis in 2008, the world has experienced political turbulence and economic downturn. Global economic growth lacks new momentum while climate change, the Syrian refugee crisis, terrorism and other global challenges further increase instability and uncertainty.
Moreover, protectionism in trade and investment together with rising opposition to globalization are jeopardizing the project of integrating the global economy. Led by the United States and dominated by the Western powers, the economic governance system extends differential treatment, neglecting the demands of some developing countries.
Against this backdrop, a series of Chinese proposals for global economic governance have become precious wisdom to counter the myriad crises. At the G20 Hangzhou Summit this year, Chinese President Xi Jinping explained China’s concepts of global economic governance, which aim to make the international order fairer, more equitable, multilateral and more inclusive. His remarks also injected the new momentum needed to unify and lead emerging countries and developing countries to realize the reform of global economic governance.
China’s proposal on global economic governance stresses the construction of multilateral mechanisms, with an acknowledgement of the central role of the WTO in building regulation-based, nondiscriminatory, open, transparent and inclusive multilateral trade mechanisms. Now, more and more regional and multilateral trade agreements and plans are emerging. They should be in accordance with WTO regulations.
The proposal addresses the various development needs of developing countries, marking a substantial contribution to the implementation of the goals of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. On the one hand, it takes into consideration the appeals of some developing countries to realize comprehensive development, upgrade industries and technologies, as well as protect public interest and the right to implement independent policies. On the other hand, it emphasizes support to low-income countries in aspects like infrastructure, connectivity, financing and technological cooperation.
Based on the consensus of strong, sustainable and balanced growth achieved by former G20 summits, this year China proposed to add a new element: “inclusive growth.” The summit also calls for a just and equitable partnership among countries rather than a hierarchy. Whether countries are big or small, rich or poor, they should cooperate on an equal basis.
China’s proposal pays more attention to new variables in evaluating the global trade order, including connectivity, integration of standards and supervision, as well as ability enhancement. Those variables are becoming even more decisive than traditional elements like entry criteria, regulation and dispute resolution.
It also stresses the provision of material and institutional public goods. BRICS New Development Bank, the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, the “Belt and Road” initiative, production capacity cooperation and other plans proposed by China have promoted mutually beneficial cooperation and brought about tangible benefits to developing countries while paving the way for a community of common destiny for mankind.
China’s proposal values the experience China has gained from its reform and opening up, especially achievements in infrastructure, industrialization, agriculture, poverty reduction and education. China’s development concepts of innovation, coordination, ecology, openness and sharing as well as its strategic plans in areas like the Internet, green and inclusive finance, and new energy can also serve as a reference to other countries as they establish a focus and priorities for development.
The proposal stresses the importance of making full use of multilateral mechanisms and channels. In addition to solidifying and giving full play to the G20 as a major platform in global economic governance, China also calls for building mechanisms like the Conference on Interaction and Confidence-Building Measures in Asia, East Asia Summit, ASEAN Regional Forum, EU-China Summit as well as expanding multilateral free trade and investment agreements.
Sheng Bin is a professor from the Nankai Institute of International Economics in Tianjin.