Analysis – YANG YOUMING
ON JANUARY 17, 2017, Chinese President Xi Jinping attended the opening ceremony of the 2017 annual meeting of the World Economic Forum at Davos, Switzerland, and delivered an important keynote speech titled â€œJointly shoulder responsibility of our times, promote global growth.â€ The three issues President Xi emphasised in his speech can be summarised as follows:
Firstly: how to view the global economic situation and economic globalisation. The world is currently loaded with contradictions and the global economy has remained sluggish for quite some time. Some hold an unfair view and blame the economic globalisation on the chaos in the world. President Xi spoke in depth about the irreversible trend of economic globalisation and stressed that the economic globalisation, which resulted from the growing social productivity, is a natural outcome of scientific and technological progress, and has powered the global growth, facilitated the movement of goods and capital, enabled the advances in science, technology and civilisation, and promoted interactions among people. The economic globalisation however is also a double-edged sword. What the international community should do is to actively provide direction to the process of economic globalisation. For example, we should act pro-actively and manage the economic globalisation as appropriately as possible so as to release its positive impact. We should, by following the general trend and proceeding from our own respective national conditions, embark on the right pathway of integrating into the economic globalisation and with the right pace. We should strike a balance between efficiency and equity to ensure all parties share the benefits of such globalisation.
President Xi analysed the global economic situation and stressed that the root cause of the prolonged sluggish global economy is that three critical issues in the economic sphere have not been effectively addressed: Firstly, lack of robust driving forces makes it difficult to sustain the steady growth of the global economy. Secondly, inadequate global economic governance makes it difficult to adapt to new changes and readjustment of industrial layout in the global economy. Thirdly, uneven global development makes it difficult to meet peopleâ€™s expectations for better lives. The richest one percent of the worldâ€™s population owns more wealth than the remaining 99 percent. Over 700 million people in the world are still living in extreme poverty.
Secondly: what are Chinaâ€™s proposed solutions to the promotion of global economic growth. In this respect, President Xi mentioned 4 important aspects: Firstly, it is necessary to develop a dynamic, innovation-driven growth model. We should not only develop a new development philosophy, adopt new policy instruments and advance structural reform, but also develop new growth models and seize opportunities presented by the new round of industrial revolution and digital economy. Secondly, it is necessary to pursue a well-coordinated and inter-connected approach to develop a model of open and win-win cooperation. We should commit ourselves to expanding an open global economy to share opportunities and interests through opening-up and achieve win-win outcomes. Efforts must be doubled to develop global connectivity. We must remain committed to developing global free trade and investment, and promote trade and investment liberalisation and facilitation through opening-up. Thirdly, it is necessary to develop a model of fair and equitable governance in keeping with the trend of the times. Emerging markets and developing countries deserve greater representation and voice in the governance of the world economy. Fourthly, it is necessary to develop a balanced, equitable and inclusive development model. It is important to protect the environment while pursuing economic and social progress. The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development should be implemented to realise balanced development across the world.
Thirdly, Chinaâ€™s development is an opportunity for the world. President Xi stressed that China has become the worldâ€™s second largest economy, thanks to 38 years of reform and opening-up. China has come this far because the Chinese government and people have blazed a development path that suits Chinaâ€™s actual conditions. This path, which is based on Chinaâ€™s realities, adheres to the principle of putting peopleâ€™s interests first, promotes reforms and innovation and common development through opening-up. Chinaâ€™s economy has entered what is now called a new normal, in which major changes are taking place in terms of growth rate, development model, economic structure and drivers of growth. The Chinese economy faces strong downward pressures and many difficulties, but the economic fundamentals sustaining its sound development remain unchanged. The growth rate of Chinaâ€™s economy is still one of the highest in the world. President Xi emphasised that guided by the vision of innovative, coordinated, green, open and shared development, China will make concerted efforts to fend off risks, maintain its steady growth, and improve peopleâ€™s living standards, by accelerating reforms and readjusting its economic structure. China aims at achieving medium-high rate of growth and upgrade its economy to higher end of the value chain. President Xi also pointed out that Chinaâ€™s development is a great opportunity to the world. He said that between 1950 and 2016, China provided more than 400 billion yuan of foreign assistance, undertaken over 5,000 foreign assistance projects. He also announced that in the coming five years, China is expected to import US$8 trillion of goods from other countries and make US$750 billion of outbound investment. Chinese tourists will make 700 million overseas visits.
President Xiâ€™s speech resonated well around the world and will certainly have far-reaching historical significance. Against the background that a sluggish economic growth is plaguing the whole world, the process of economic globalisation is encountering headwind, and international political uncertainty is rising, it was regarded as all the more important for President Xi to make this historic visit to Davos, the first of its kind of all Chinese Presidents, and to give such an important speech, in which he focused on the theme of our times, told Chinese stories, expounded Chinese views, contributed Chinese wisdom, and shed much-needed light on the global economy in these difficult times.
China cannot achieve its development independent from the rest of the world, and the development of the world needs China. In this regard, China actively pursues economic cooperation based on equality and mutual benefit with other countries. China and Zambia have enjoyed extensive economic cooperation in recent years. And with high complementarity in our respective economic advantages and great potential for bilateral economic cooperation, the mutually beneficial cooperation between the two countries is set to develop further in the coming years. Early this year, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi paid a successful official visit to Zambia, met with H.E. Mr. Edgar Lungu, President of the Republic of Zambia, and held talks with his counterpart Hon. Harry Kalaba, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Zambia. The two sides exchanged views in depth and reached important agreements on bilateral relations and practical cooperation in various fields. The Chinese side is willing to make joint efforts with the Zambian side to implement the outcomes of the Johannesburg Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC), to jointly shoulder the responsibility of our times, promote growth of the two countries and bring more benefits to the two peoples.
The author is Chinese Ambassador to Zambia.
Analysis – YANG YOUMING