Initiative shows way to shared future

Wang Lei
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail China Daily, 01 29, 2019
Adjust font size:

Second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation can further promote shared growth and constructive reform of global economic governance

The second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation will be among the most important diplomatic events to be held in China in 2019. The world is undergoing seismic changes, and all eyes will be on Beijing as leaders and influencers gather to discuss ways to advance China's innovative initiative.

The priority for the Belt and Road Initiative is to address the challenges in the teetering global economy and to shape a new economic cooperative structure that is inclusive, balanced and beneficial for all; to take the nation's all-dimensional opening-up international and promote global economic governance reform.

To do so, the initiative must overcome two fundamental challenges. First, there are brutal divisions among countries' economic growth. Second, economic development is still extremely uneven around the world. Now in its sixth year, the Belt and Road Initiative has two clear missions: to defend multilateral trade and to boost global development, which will both usher in reforms in global economic governance.

The Belt and Road Initiative is guided by the principles of extensive consultation, joint contributions and shared benefits. Specifically, it seeks to develop open and win-win cooperation, fair and equitable governance, balanced, equitable and inclusive development and dynamic, innovation-driven growth.

The initiative, the epitome of multilateralism, aims to safeguard economic globalization and initiate incremental and constructive changes to the existing governance system. It also provides a new platform for developing countries, including China, to participate in global economic governance and promote the transformation of the international economic system.

Since the end of World War II, developing countries have been calling for a more just and reasonable international economic system. In their fight for national independence and self-reliant economic development, they have even stood up to the economic dominance of developed countries. But their struggles have been futile. Especially after the Cold War, the developing countries and the South-South cooperation instruments they advocated, such as the Non-Aligned Movement and the G77, have been marginalized in the tide of economic globalization.

As of September 2018, more than 120 countries and international organizations had signed memorandums of understanding on cooperation within the framework of the Belt and Road Initiative. The United Nations, the World Health Organization and regional organizations including the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, the European Union, the Eurasian Economic Union and the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States have expressed their strong support for the Belt and Road Initiative. For instance, the Eurasian Economic Union has officially entered an agreement for docking cooperation. While Central and Eastern European countries, as well as Latin American and Caribbean states, have pursued strategic cooperation in a collective manner.

China is in an important strategic phrase and will remain so for a long time. The Belt and Road Initiative is boosting its international trade, diversifying its export markets, attracting foreign investment and improving its opening-up in the new era. The initiative has effectively promoted pragmatic cooperation in key areas such as connectivity, capacity cooperation, trade and investment; it has also facilitated the flow of Chinese goods and production factors. In the new phase, it will be conducive for China advancing institutional openness.

The Belt and Road Initiative defends globalization by championing an open economy. The initiative, a silver lining to the dark clouds of rising protectionism and exclusivism, is building an open cooperation platform for goods, services, capital, information, technology and for policy discussion. It is increasing connectivity and openness through a variety of cross-border and cross-region infrastructure projects.

The Belt and Road Initiative encourages inclusive free trade, and trade liberalization and facilitation. It safeguards a rules-based and WTO-centered global multilateral trading system, while encouraging the initiative's participating parties to sign bilateral or regional free trade agreements. It aims to build a free trade area network of greater inclusiveness, wider coverage and richer content.

The initiative has reinvented the wheel by encouraging capable and willing third-party markets to pool resources and work together in infrastructure and energy development. It welcomes co-planning, co-construction and joint investment to create win-win and all-win policies.

For example, China and Japan signed the Memorandum on Business Cooperation in Third Countries between China and Japan in 2018, and held the First China-Japan Third-Party Market Cooperation Forum. They are two milestones in fulfilling the Belt and Road's commitment to build an open world economy and promote economic globalization.

The fundamental mission of the Belt and Road Initiative is to seek political, economic, social, cultural and ecological development for all countries. It has been met with great enthusiasm from participating developing countries and emerging economies, which have aligned their development agendas with the Belt and Road Initiative. Their gains from the initiative are an important yardstick to measure the initiative's success and testimony to China's endeavor to build a community with a shared future for mankind.

The author is associate professor at the School of Government, research fellow at the China Academy of Education and Social Development and director of the BRICS Cooperation Research Center of Beijing Normal University. The author contributed this article to China Watch, a think tank powered by China Daily. The views do not necessarily reflect those of China Daily.

(China Daily 01/29/2019 page13)

Follow on Twitter and Facebook to join the conversation.
ChinaNews App Download
Print E-mail Bookmark and Share