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Multilateralism brings certainty to an unstable world

Author  :  REN LIN     Source  :    Chinese Social Sciences Today     2019-07-09

The G20 Osaka summit was held on June 28 and 29. This summit exhibited an atmosphere different from prior summits. There has been a continuing lack of driving forces for global economic growth and various idiosyncratic security concerns have emerged. A severe deficit of global governance is compromising the security, development and stability of all nations and people in the world. Furthermore, relations among major countries are being used by some developed countries as domestic leverage. A prevailing protectionism is hindering global governance, aggravating the deficit of public goods and impeding global economic growth and the progress of humanity. 

Whether G20 can serve as an important platform for all countries to break the deadlock, address profound changes, reach a consensus among major countries and forge plans for global governance largely depends on whether major economies at the summit can accurately estimate the profound global changes to come and create certainty in an uncertain world. It also depends on the orientation and evolution of the G20 mechanism.

Acknowledging a problem is the first step in addressing it. G20 should be a platform for all countries to come to a better understanding of global changes, to find effective and timely governance solutions, and to reach a consensus on inclusive development. The contemporary world is facing profound changes that cannot be simply defined as “crises.” To some extent, the 2008 global financial crisis was the peak of a large systemic change still ongoing today, a part of the negative spillover effects of globalization. 

It is undeniable that through globalization all countries have benefited from rapid global economic growth. However, while benefiting, people have ignored its negative effects, including the spread of terrorism along with socioeconomic problems caused by increasing income gaps, which are sometimes mistakenly attributed to external trade deficits.

Some increasing income gaps are due to failures of domestic governance. These countries have failed to address globalization’s influence on domestic societies and economies. Therefore, these countries’ hostile trade policies will fail to root out the problem. 

The world today faces increasing uncertainty, and only through open cooperation, rational dialogue and consensus can we address this uncertainty. Protectionism will only aggravate the current predicament and reduce the space for dialogue, which will eventually lead towards the closure of the door to cooperation. Only by maintaining coordinated macroscopic policies among all countries can we eradicate the risk of uncertainty and secure global economic and financial stability. Only through joint efforts in finding ways for development and exploring new driving forces for global economic growth can we address the realistic problems of the insufficient momentum for economic growth. Only by focusing on the new problems and challenges can the G20 play a significant role in leading global economic governance.

As an important supporter of a common, global opening up, as a stable engine of global economic growth and as a vigorous market of opportunity for all countries, China has made immense contributions. China has maintained stable economic growth in general. The nation has taken multiple measures to deepen its reform and opening up and to pursue high-quality economic growth. China has presented itself at the G20 summit with an open and inclusive mind. China upholds that all countries should settle trade disputes with a rational and equal mind. China proposes constructive advice to the reform of the World Trade Organization. China supports multilateralism and opposes protectionism and bullying in trade. China tries to bring more certainty to an uncertain world, contributing to reducing deficits in governance, peace, development and trust. 

The world needs a valuable dialogue platform such as G20. However, in order to maintain its role as a core platform for global economic governance, G20 should transform itself in a timely and proper way. This largely depends on the will and participation of its major members. The G20 summit today faces a world of profound changes. Such things as e-commerce did not exist a few decades ago, and international economic governance lacks definitions and rules for them. Without up-to-date rules, disputes easily arise. In today’s world, G20 must be able to come up with new plans, new definitions and new rules for regulating these new markets and technologies. As a proactive contributor to the reform of global governance, China has always been an active advocate and supporter of multilateralism. China values the G20 as an important platform for global economic governance. China calls for a global governance system that is better and keeps pace with the times as well as a good international order that is based on multilateralism and rules. China will play a leading role in further developing the G20 mechanism.


This article was edited and translated from Guangming Daily. Ren Lin is director of the Division of Global Governance at the Institute of World Economics and Politics under the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.


(Edited by CHEN ALONG)

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