Monday

26th Oct 2020

Stakeholder

China: work together for a better globalisation

  • The Chinese ambassador to the EU, Zhang Ming, delivered the speech at a meeting of the Centre for European Reform (Photo: Xinhua)

The Centre for European Reform asked me to talk about what can China and the EU do to save globalisation.

The topic in itself reflects the fact that globalisation is being called into question. Admittedly, globalisation has been accompanied by some problems.

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  • The four challenges are: rules-based order, openness, global governance and economic production (Photo: EUOBOR)

Some people do not feel safe, happy or fulfilled enough.

Some governments are becoming more inward-looking and protectionist to push back against globalisation. Some even go as far as to blame globalisation for challenges like regional conflicts, refugees and terrorism.

Let us revisit what my president Xi Jinping said last year in Davos, "economic globalisation resulted from growing social productivity, and is a natural outcome of scientific and technological progress, not something created by any individuals or any countries".

It is unfair to turn a blind eye to the fact that globalisation has facilitated movement of personnel, goods and technology, and to attribute all the problems we are having now to globalisation.

We Chinese people often say, "A wise man cannot choose the time that he lives in; what he can choose, rather, is how to adapt." Doing the right thing at a given time makes one successful. Trying to reverse the trend of the times could be futile, or even counter-productive.

In the face of difficulty, the right approach is to come together and rise to the challenge, and do our best to make globalisation more dynamic, inclusive and sustainable.

China engages in, benefits from and, more importantly, contributes to economic globalisation.

In the past 40 years, China has pursued development through opening-up, achieving a great transition from seclusion to openness. In this process, China has made significant contribution to mitigating the Asian Financial Crisis and the global financial crisis, and offered such public goods as the Belt and Road Initiative.

The EU, too, is a strong advocate and contributor to globalisation.

In the past decades, the EU has stood for multilateralism and free trade, committed to improve global governance, and above all, represented a successful example of regional integration.

Despite the recent difficulties, the EU, as said in its White Paper on the Future of Europe, has always been at a crossroads, and has always adapted and evolved as time goes by.

As the EU's comprehensive strategic partner, China supports European integration, and believes that the EU will be able to turn its great vision into reality and to help strengthen the momentum of globalisation.

Since I arrived in Brussels last October, my first-hand experience has convinced me that China and the EU have extensive common interests and have a joint responsibility in addressing global challenges.

Four challenges

To make globalisation work better, cooperation between China and the EU is of paramount importance. Specifically, we can make efforts in the following aspects:

First, we need to uphold the rules-based global order. Rules keep things in order. It is simply unacceptable to sacrifice rules for selfish interests. If we fail to prevent such a thing from happening, or even choose to keep silent, global governance or even stability would be put at risk.

As unilateralism is on the rise, China and the EU must stand up together with a clear voice to say no. In settling trade disputes, China not only tries to protect its own legitimate interests, but also tries to preserve the principle of multilateralism and the rules-based global order. In this regard, China and the EU have shared commitment, shared interests, and more importantly, shared responsibility.

Second, we need to remain open and work for mutual benefit.

China is always ready to share opportunities with the rest of the world in an open spirit.

In his Boao speech last April, President Xi made major announcements to significantly broaden market access, create a more attractive investment environment, strengthen IPR protection, and expand imports. We have been putting in place specific measures to ease foreign ownership limits in the financial sector and considerably lower auto tariffs.

Many EU companies will benefit from the new steps.

On our part, we expect the EU to remain open as well, and treat Chinese companies fairly in terms of foreign direct investment (FDI) screening. By achieving mutual benefit while maintaining openness, China and the EU could provide a strong proof that globalisation works and delivers.

Third, we need to make global governance fit for purpose. As many have observed, with the advances of science and technology, changes are taking place in division of labour, global industrial landscape and international relations.

China and the EU need to take coordinated actions to reform the global governance system to keep pace with those new changes.

Meanwhile, it is imperative to take collective actions against climate change, cyber insecurity and other major challenges. It is important to work more closely to address poverty, unemployment, widening income gap and other problems that may hinder social equity and justice. All this could be promising areas of China-EU cooperation.

Together, we could make global governance work better and ensure that every individual gets a fair share and a fair shot.

Fourth, we need to offer public goods to the benefit of all.

As two major economies, China and the EU have a common responsibility to share the benefits of their development with other countries and citizens.

This is what a global community with a shared future is about.

It is in such a spirit that China put forward the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), aiming to promote connectivity, share opportunities, and bring about common prosperity.

China has no intention to do geopolitical calculations, seek exclusionary blocs or impose any business deals on others. We hope to consult and join forces with Europe to turn the BRI into a cooperation platform for the wider international community and to deliver benefits to as many people as possible.

A lot of things are happening in our world.

We need to have the great vision to identify opportunities and challenges; more importantly, we need to have the commitment to cooperate and the courage to take actions. With joint actions, China and the EU could contribute to a better globalisation that is open, inclusive, balanced and beneficial to all.

Author bio

His Excellency Ambassador Zhang Ming is head of the Chinese mission to the European Union.

Disclaimer

This article is sponsored by a third party. All opinions in this article reflect the views of the author and not of EUobserver.

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