By He Yin
The 4th China International Import Expo (CIIE) has spurred a wave of openness and cooperation, through which the international community sees more clearly that China is unswervingly safeguarding true multilateralism and common interests of all through courageous actions, continuously providing impetus for improving global economic governance and jointly building an open world economy.
As unilateralism and protectionism are on the rise and economic globalization is encountering headwinds, the 4th CIIE attracted participants from various countries, offered great opportunities for cooperation, and caught the attention of people around the world, signaling a more evident role of the expo in promoting international economic and trade cooperation.
As a Chinese saying goes, people with petty shrewdness attend to trivial matters while those with greater wisdom attend to the governance of institutions.
The combined forces of changes and a pandemic, both unseen in a century, have brought the world into a phase of fluidity and transformation. To ride out the phase, countries need to reform and improve the global economic governance system constructively and better seize opportunities and avoid harm to facilitate the steady progress of economic globalization.
The multilateral trading regime with the WTO at its core is the cornerstone of international trade. However, the regime has been eroded, and the WTO has had difficulty performing normally in recent years, with its Doha Development Round going around in circles and the Appellate Body of its dispute settlement mechanism paralyzed.
The reform of the WTO has been put on the agenda, yet a consensus hasn’t been reached on the goals of the reform and the ways to advance the reform.
Standing at a crossroads, countries can only enjoy a bright future by deciding on a clear direction and marching forward together.
“China supports the WTO reform in moving in the right direction. We support the inclusive development of the multilateral trading regime, as well as the legitimate rights and interests of the developing members,” announced Chinese President Xi Jinping at the opening ceremony of the 4th CIIE.
China has always stressed that the WTO reform should preserve the core values of the multilateral trading system, guarantee the development interests of developing members, and follow the consensus-based decision-making mechanism.
Besides, China believes that the reform of the WTO should uphold the multilateral trading system’s status as the main channel for international rules-setting, give priority to the key issues that threaten the survival of the organization, ensure the fairness of trading rules, respond to the needs of the times, guarantee the special and differential treatment for developing members, and respect the respective development models of WTO members.
China’s propositions for WTO reform have provided theoretical guidance and political impetus for maintaining and developing the multilateral trading system, drawing wide attention and winning recognition from the international community.
Of the problems confronting the world economy, none can be resolved by a single country alone.
Countries should stick to the vision of global governance featuring extensive consultation, joint construction, and shared benefits and jointly improve global economic governance, instead of allowing unilateralism or protectionism to undermine the international order and international rules. They should show more willingness and roll out more measures to advance opening-up and cooperation, rather than isolating themselves from the rest of the world.
China will take an active and open attitude in negotiations on issues such as the digital economy, trade, and the environment, industrial subsidies, and state-owned enterprises, uphold the position of the multilateral trading regime as the main channel for international rules-setting, and safeguard the stability of global industrial and supply chains, Xi said at the opening ceremony of the 4th CIIE.
The WTO attaches great importance to China’s significant influence and leading role and is willing to strengthen communication and coordination with China, according to WTO Director-General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala.
As humankind shares a common stake, countries should put the common good of humanity first and protect the common interests of the world rather than placing one’s interests above the common interests of all.
Over the past year, China has reaped fruits in honoring its words with actions to promote bilateral, multilateral, and regional cooperation. Negotiations on the China-EU Comprehensive Agreement on Investment have been concluded; China is among the first to complete domestic ratification of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) agreement.
Determined to uphold the common interests of the entire world, China will take an active part in cooperation within the UN, the WTO, the G20, Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), and other institutions, and promote more discussions on such issues as trade and investment, the digital economy, and green and low-carbon development, said Xi.
The country will support the fair distribution of and unimpeded trade in vaccines and other critical medical supplies worldwide to assist global response to the COVID-19 pandemic, he said.
In a bid to help other countries explore drivers of economic growth, China will promote high-quality Belt and Road cooperation so that more nations and peoples will benefit from its development opportunities and real outcomes, according to Xi.
China will actively join in global efforts to tackle climate change, safeguard food and energy security, and provide more assistance for fellow developing countries within the framework of South-South cooperation to help the international community overcome the pressing challenges hindering development, Xi added.
Humanity has always been able to forge ahead despite risks, disasters, and headwinds, and humanity shall and will continue to stride forward.
As a Chinese proverb reads, “The going may be tough when one walks alone, but it gets easier when people walk together.” As the pandemic continues to wreak havoc and the global economy faces a bumpy recovery, it is all the more imperative that people around the world pull together to tide over this difficult time.
China stands ready to work with all countries to build an open world economy, improve global economic governance, and make the pie of common interests even bigger.