Championing financial globalization, regardless of countercurrents-Xinhua
Photo taken on Jan. 2, 2021 shows the light show at the Lujiazui area in east China’s Shanghai. (Xinhua/Wangxiang)
BEIJING, Feb. 21 (Xinhua) — The picturesque Swiss town of Davos is celebrated for hosting the World Economic Forum (WEF). It has also been a witness to China’s endeavor to champion an open, cooperative and mutually beneficial world economy.
On his first trip to attend the annual WEF meeting in 2017, Chinese President Xi Jinping said, “Whether you like it or not, the global economy is a big ocean that you cannot escape from.”
Five years later, at the 2022 WEF virtual session, Xi said, “Economic globalization is the trend of the times. Though countercurrents are sure to exist in a river, none could stop it from flowing to the sea.”
Despite the countercurrents of protectionism and unilateralism, China has been consistently committed to promoting win-win cooperation and common development through its opening-up drive and has injected confidence and momentum into a world afflicted by uncertainties.
Back in 2013, Xi proposed a significant initiative to build the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, also known as the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).
In less than nine years since then, over 140 countries spanning different regions, cultures and stages of development, as well as more than 30 international organizations, have signed BRI cooperation documents with China.
Scholars and experts have expressed their appreciation for the initiative’s role in boosting connections across the globe, particularly in an economic sense.
In December 2021, the China-Laos Railway, a flagship BRI project, started operations. With a total length of 1.035 km, the electrified passenger and freight railway helps convert Laos from a landlocked country to a land-linked hub.
Thanks to the BRI, many more people in the world now have access to clean water, safe electricity and modern transportation. Kenya saw its first modern railway put into operation, the Maldives has built its first inter-island bridge, and Belarus is able to produce passenger vehicles…
Apart from the BRI, China has also been exploring new channels to contribute to world development. The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), which was launched in 2016, is a prime example of such channels.
In his address at the AIIB inauguration ceremony, Xi said, “The initiative to establish the AIIB is a constructive move. It will enable China to undertake more international obligations, promote the improvement of the current international economic system and provide more international public goods. This is a move that will help bring mutual benefits and win-win outcomes to all sides.”
Surely enough, other than providing international public goods, China is also committed to sharing the development opportunities its large market brings with the rest of the world.
In 2021, for the fourth consecutive year, Xi delivered his keynote speech via video at the opening ceremony of the China International Import Expo. Through his speech, an unequivocal message was sent to the world that China will steadfastly advance high-level opening-up.
To make good on the commitment, China has advanced the construction of 21 pilot free trade zones, initiated the high-caliber development of the Hainan Free Trade Port, and shortened the negative list for foreign investment.
It has also prompted the implementation of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement and officially filed an application to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership.
Today, openness has become one of the hallmarks of the world’s second-largest economy.
In 2021, China’s foreign trade exceeded 6 trillion US dollars for the first time and its economy expanded 8.1 percent year on year. Contributing over 30 percent of global growth in recent years, China has become a key anchor and driver for the world economy.
“The WTO would not be the World Trade Organization without China,” WTO Director-General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala said at a recent high-level forum on the 20th anniversary of China’s accession to the WTO.
China’s persistent efforts to push win-win cooperation and common development for the world attest to its simple but meaningful aspiration: to secure good livelihoods for its own people and promote happiness and well-being in other parts of the world. ■