G20: China assumes global leadership role

By Xu Qinduo
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail CRI, September 6, 2016
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Since China took the duty as the hosting country of the 11th G20 summit in Hangzhou late last year, it has engaged with other members in an earnest and frequent manner in order to bring about solid outcomes of the yearly gathering. The way China organized the meeting and the fruitful achievements reveal a responsible global power in China.

For example, it organized more than 70 meetings over the past year to prepare for the Hangzhou summit. In a short conversation, Canadian ambassador Guy Saint-Jacque told me he "has never seen so many ministerial meetings" in preparing for the global leaders' conference.

During the process, China's role is shifting gradually but steadily from one of a participating member to one of leadership in nature.

Blueprint for innovative growth

One of the key phrases being repeated by the Chinese side has been "breaking a new path for growth". How? Innovation.

"Breaking a new path" is probably the most important feature of leadership. Eight years past since last financial crisis, but the developed world remains struggling with sluggish growth or fragile recovery. At the same time, some of the emerging economies are also suffering from low prices of oil and mineral products.

In order to revitalize the global economy, one of the key solutions proposed by China is innovation, which was approved at the summit meeting: G20 Blueprint on Innovative Growth.

The Blueprint was unanimously adopted and reveals the desire to capitalize on the new opportunities brought about by innovation, the new industrial revolution, digital economy, such as robotics, VR, Internet and so on.

The Blueprint on innovation represents the long Chinese vision and the courage of China to lead the global economy out of the woods.

Standard bearer for open economy

China introduced trade ministers' meeting and the trade and investment working group for this year's G20 summit in order to fully leverage the role of these two engines of global economy.

Trade and investment is, as a matter of fact, also one of the top concerns of many countries. The G20 leaders at the end of the meeting reiterated their commitment to reject protectionism and reverse the decline of global trade growth.

Saying "no" loud and clear is a challenging job for some developed countries where you see the rise of sentiment against globalization and free trade, partly because the majority of the people failed to benefit from the process.

But China is a position to lead, as its economy continues to grow at about 6.7% a year, creating jobs and wealth, which can be re-distributed in a fairer way.

The leaders formulated the G20 Guiding Principles for Global Investment Policymaking, which lays out the first global framework of multilateral rules governing international investment.

As China invests more and more in other countries, it's increasingly seen as the standard bearer of globalization, advocating free trade and investment.

Leading voice of developing countries

By placing some new items high in the G20 agenda, China has strengthened its role as the leading voice of developing countries.

For example, for the first time, priority is given to development in the global macro-policy framework. For the first time, The world leaders have devised a groundbreaking Action Plan on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, a program targeting at the economic growth of developing countries.

China, together with the United States, has also officially ratified the Paris Agreement on Climate Change to encourage its early entry into effect. The cooperation between the world's two largest emitters has generated much optimism not only in the positive development in their bilateral relationship but also the impetus in global efforts to fight climate change.

China's proposal has also led to the G20 Initiative on Supporting Industrialization in Africa and Least Developed Countries.

China has been playing such a role in assisting Africa and other less developed countries through investment and trade, but it's at G20 that its leading role is becoming more prominent by advocating for the interests of those developing countries.

Turning point for G20

China has been working to transform the G20 from a crisis response mechanism to a long-term governance mechanism and expand its focus from short-term policy response to a combination of short-, medium- and long-term policymaking.

That's based on, according Chinese President Xi Jinping, "a deeper understanding of the importance of making full use of the role of the G20 as the premier forum for international economic cooperation."

It might take years for G20 to be truly transformed into an effective body for global economic governance. But China's earnestness and eagerness in hosting the event successfully reveals a responsible power in China.

With China's rising international status and continued economic expansion, it's expected to play a even stronger role in the international arena. With the financial prowess as the largest foreign reserves holder and the largest trading nation on earth, China is increasingly in a leading position to take care of the health of the global economy, as it is expected to become the world's biggest economy in the years to come.

The Hangzhou summit could well be the starting point for China to assume a growing leadership role in global economic governance.

Xu Qinduo is a Beijing-based senior political analyst who provides commentary and analysis on international issues to both Chinese and foreign media, such as Russia Today, BBC, Sky News Australia, NPR, Global Times, La Presse, ABC, The National, and Channel News Asia in both the English and Chinese languages.

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