Countries need to chart the right course for economic globalization at the crucial moment
By He Yin
Four years ago, Chinese President Xi Jinping pointed out the deep-seated problems plaguing economic globalization, charted the way forward for economic globalization, and reaffirmed China’s stance on unswervingly pushing forward economic globalization in his keynote speech titled Jointly Shoulder Responsibility of Our Times, Promote Global Growth at the opening session of the World Economic Forum (WEF) Annual Meeting held in Davos, Switzerland, on Jan. 17, 2017.
The speech, which was hailed as “sunshine in the winter”, has never been forgotten. In fact, it has served as an inspiration for reflection on economic globalization over the past four years.
From the historical perspective, economic globalization resulted from growing social productivity, and is a natural outcome of scientific and technological progress, not something created by any individuals or any countries, Xi noted in his speech.
Economic globalization has powered global growth and facilitated movement of goods and capital, advances in science, technology and civilization, and interactions among peoples, he pointed out.
“It is true that economic globalization has created new problems, but this is no justification to write economic globalization off completely. Rather, we should adapt to and guide economic globalization, cushion its negative impact, and deliver its benefits to all countries and all nations,” he said.
Xi’s remarks have provided a proper perspective on economic globalization. What he pointed out in the speech was also important underpinning for continuous efforts to promote open cooperation and make economic globalization continuously benefit the wellbeing of humankind.
The tougher the times are, the more the world needs the guidance of perceptive thoughts. It is in crises that truths can fully demonstrate their strength, which never wears off because of time or space.
From Xi’s insights into economic globalization, people around the world have seen the hope of and the path to world economic recovery and growth.
Ever since the outbreak of the COVID-19, international communication and personnel exchanges have been severely blocked, global trade and investment have fallen sharply, and the world economy has been attacked from both the supply and demand sides.
These changes led to a growing backlash against globalization. Some people have produced the theories that global industrial and supply chains couldn’t hold and that economic globalization has come to an end.
However, the byproduct of the refusal to open up is not only a slowdown in economic growth, but a substantial decline in the national income of all countries, as Kenneth Rogoff, former chief economist with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), put it.
Although the epidemic has hindered economic globalization, the general trend toward openness and cooperation among countries remains unchanged.
A new round of scientific and technological revolution and industrial transformation are picking up speed, constantly injecting new impetus into economic globalization.
U.S. management magazine Harvard Business Review observed that ongoing technological shifts such as the adoption of e-commerce, videoconferencing, and robots have all been supercharged by the COVID-19, which could strengthen globalization.
Global trade is undergoing technological changes amid epidemic prevention and control, according to a report released by the WEF.
Trade technologies may facilitate the cross-border flow of knowledge-intensive products and services, according to the report, which noted that technological progress can help narrow the gap between developed and developing countries, small and large companies, and even provide opportunities for development by leaps and bounds.
It is obvious that economic globalization is faced with new development opportunities, and steering economic globalization in the right direction will help solve problems hindering development.
As the epidemic is still raging across the world, global economic recovery is both unstable and uneven.
The top priority for countries is to jointly combat the virus, ensure the smooth functioning of the global economy, chart the right course for economic globalization, and give impetus to the recovery and growth of world economy.
Four years ago, Xi offered prescriptions for world economy in his speech, which targeted the pain points, difficulties, and focuses in developing world economy, and suit today’s world just fine. He called for developing a dynamic, innovation-driven growth model, a model of open and win-win cooperation by pursuing a well-coordinated and inter-connected approach, a model of fair and equitable governance in keeping with the trend of the times, and a balanced, equitable and inclusive development model.
China not only benefits from, but contributes to economic globalization. It has unswervingly promoted opening-up on a higher level, and taken concrete actions to advance the building of an open world economy.
In the past four years, China has increased its number of free trade zones into 21, and hosted three sessions of the China International Import Expo, turning the China market into a market for the world, a market shared by all, and a market accessible to all.
It has speeded up building a new development pattern whereby domestic and foreign markets can boost each other, with the domestic market as the mainstay, opening up space for its economic development while adding impetus to the recovery and growth of the world economy.
The country has held two sessions of the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation, in a bid to facilitate the high-quality construction of the Belt and Road together with other countries.
China has signed the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) with relevant countries, and completed investment agreement negotiations with the European Union (EU) as scheduled, boosting the confidence of the international society in economic globalization and free trade.
China determines to secure mutual benefits and common development with the rest of the world, and has proved through a great deal of practice and fruits that “Victory is ensured when people pool their strength; success is secured when people put their heads together.”
History is created by the brave. Countries around the world need to head in the right direction, especially in critical moments.
As long as countries keep to the goal of building a community of shared future for mankind and work hand in hand to fulfill their responsibilities and overcome difficulties, they will surely make economic globalization more open, inclusive, balanced and beneficial to all, create a better world, and deliver better lives for peoples.