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Forum: ‘B&R' injects new vigor into South-South cooperation

Author  :  Wang Junmei     Source  :    Chinese Social Sciences Today     2017-07-17

To seek ways China and other developing countries can strengthen cooperation, domestic and foreign experts recently reviewed China’s developmental history and agreed that the “Belt and Road” (“B&R”) initiative will facilitate South-South Cooperation.

Held on July 2 in Beijing, the forum on “South-South Cooperation and the ‘Belt and Road’ Initiative” was co-hosted by the Finance Center for South-South Cooperation (FCSSC) and the People’s Bank of China School of Finance (PBCSF) at Tsinghua University.

Weighing in on the global situation, FCSSC Chairman Cai Esheng said that the developmental experience of China in recent decades can offer concrete examples of how to cope with rising trade protectionism, populism and opposition to globalization.

The “B&R” initiative is becoming a global consensus, and the majority of the world’s countries and regions recognize its significance, Cai said.

Countries engaging in South-South Cooperation initially focused on trade development and cooperation, Cai said. But since 2000, they have been increasingly aware that they vary in terms of development capacity and major problems, he said.

During economic cooperation and policy communication, they should not mechanically apply the lessons learned from other countries, Cai said. Instead, they should strive to carve a path that suits their own conditions and conforms to market laws and international rules. This is an important lesson China can offer other countries, he added.

Zhou Hao, deputy director of the National Institute of Financial Research at Tsinghua University, mentioned the “Washington Consensus” in discussions of the economic conditions in China and countries in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) in the past 30 years. The “Washington Consensus” is a set of related neoliberal political and economic theories put forward in 1989 that targeted Latin American countries and addressed the transition of CEE nations.

Zhou said that China did not blindly follow the consensus and neoliberal theories, like the Chicago School doctrine of “shock therapy.” It realized fast growth through progressive reform, he said, adding that the best models for reform are those that are practical, progressive and compatible with national conditions.

Developed and developing countries alike face the issues of replacing old driving forces with new ones and fostering new profit models. Cai noted that a number of emerging markets have appeared in the course of South-South Cooperation, but their developmental experiences vary. The “B&R” initiative aims to provide all parties with a basis on which they can reach consensus on development and achieve South-South Cooperation in a real sense, he said.

Bhekuyise Nicholas Mfeka, economic advisor to the South African president, said that the “B&R” initiative is a crucial practice for countries to realize interconnectivity and promote global economic balance as well as inclusive and sustainable growth.

Stressing that Chinese experience has benefited Pakistan, Mayor of Gwadar in Pakistan Baboo Gulab said that his country can learn from China in such areas as infrastructure construction and economic development. China’s participation in the construction of the Gwadar Port is a dividend brought by the “B&R” initiative, he said.

Editor: Bai Le

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