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G20 Hangzhou Summit Underscores China’s Central Role in World Economy

Sep 13 , 2016
  • Yin Chengde

    Research Fellow, China Foundation for International Studies

The G20 Hangzhou Summit came to a successful conclusion on Sept 5, with about 30 important achievements made, including the endorsement of the G20 Blueprint on Innovative Growth, the G20 Strategy for Global Trade Growth and the G20 Guiding Principles for Global Investment Policymaking as well as the implementation plan of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development — all critically important for global economic development. The Hangzhou summit is the most fruitful in G20 history with far-reaching significance, and will help open a new chapter and broad prospects for global economic development and governance.

China played a dominant and decisive role in ensuring the summit’s success. The theme, goals, tasks and agenda of the summit, as well as the broad consensus reached, were all effectively promoted by China. During the two-day meeting, President Xi Jinping expounded on the current international situation, took the pulse of the global economy, proposed a road to global economic rejuvenation that should be driven by innovation and reform, and advocated for robust, sustainable, balanced and inclusive development. Leaders of the G20 members echoed Xi’s proposals, which helped set the foundation and tone for the Hangzhou summit, and helped show the way to new round of recovery and development.

The G20 Hangzhou Summit marked the fact that China has taken center stage in the world economic arena and has become one of the rule-makers in the global governance system. The elevation of China’s role and status in the global arena was the natural result from China’s focused policies, economic prowess and contributions to the world. The change could be seen in the following four aspects:

First, the guiding role of China’s viewpoints, which will have critical impact on the recovery of the global economy. A: Growth driven by innovation. At the times when the potential of the traditional system and models is on the wane, innovation has become the only choice for economic development. Innovation is the only option for fully tapping the vigor and potential for economic development. B: Vigorous advocacy for free trade and investment, and resolute opposition to protectionism. Trade and investment are the twin engines driving forward the global economy.

When the two engines malfunction or lose steam, it is one of the main reasons for the big decline in the global economy. China, holding high the banner for free trade, succeeded in rallying support for the adoption of the G20 Strategy for Global Trade Growth and the G20 Guiding Principles for Global Investment Policymaking, laying solid foundations for the strong rebound and growth of the global economy. C: Improvement in global governance. China urged continuing with reforms of the international economic and financial systems, to increase the representation and voice of emerging markets and developing countries, to promote the transformation of the G20 as a replacement for the G7 as the prime platform for global governance. This is the prerequisite for achieving the goals of equal rights, equal opportunities and equal rules for all countries, and for realizing the goals of robust, sustainable, equal and inclusive development of the global economy. D: The importance of development and the role of the developing countries. Responding to the call from China, the G20 Hangzhou Summit for the first time placed development issues in a prominent position in the global macro framework, for the first time formulated plans for the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and for the first time invited developing countries that are not members of the G20 to the summit to jointly chart the route for global development. This is conducive to elevate the status of the developing countries, and promote the development of their economies. China’s proposition is considered the best solution to boost the global economy.

Second, the exemplary role of policies. China, in the face of a new normal in economic development and the growing downside pressure and risks in the economy, made timely adjustments to its development approach, and put forward five new development principles - innovation, coordination, green, openness and sharing. China also adopted the macroeconomic policies to promote reforms, adjust the economic structure, inject vigor into and stabilize economic growth, and stress economic efficiency. China has worked hard to carry out the supply-side reforms and made achievements in this regard. All these measures and policies helped guarantee a relatively fast growth while improving the quality and efficiency of the economy. In the past few years as well as in the first half of this year, China’s economic growth rate was more than double the global growth rate, and three times the average rate of the developed countries. Many G20 members applauded China’s economic policies, which were considered “examples” for other countries to borrow and apply, and the “best prescription” to effectively tackle the downward pressure of the economy. This further amplified the effect and role of the “China model” on the world.

Third, the supportive role of its actual contributions. In the past few years, China’s economic growth slowed down, but its contribution to the global economic growth still hovered at around 30%, exceeding that of the United States. China has become a major engine and the source of power in driving the global economic development. At the same time, China advocates an opening strategy with win-win cooperation at the core, upholds justice and interests with a priority to justice, has proposed the grand strategic vision of “Belt and Road Initiative”, has advocated the initiation of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank and the Silk Road Fund, and provides, within its capacity, selfless aid to the least developing countries, and is making unprecedented contributions to the prosperity and development of the neighboring nations, developing countries and the world as a whole. China has become a major support and central force in promoting the stability and development of the world economy.

Fourth, the positive role of major-country relations. The G20 has all major countries across the world as its members, and the success of the G20 Hangzhou Summit will elevate China’s relations with all major countries. During the summit, President Xi Jinping had fruitful meetings, including with his US counterpart, during which the two reached 35 consensuses, opening new prospects for the development of China-US relations.

As Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said recently, China plays a central role in driving global economic recovery and growth. These are not mere words of flattery. With the progress of China’s grand rejuvenation, China will be able to contribute more with Chinese wisdom, solutions and power to global economic development.

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