Interview: Chinese economy in "excellent shape," BRI lives up to expectations -- scholar

Sun Ding, Xu Jing
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail Xinhua, March 15, 2022
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WASHINGTON/CHICAGO, March 14 (Xinhua) -- The Chinese economy is in "excellent shape," and the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) has lived up to its expectations, an economist told Xinhua recently.

During a virtual interview, Khairy Tourk, a professor of economics at the Chicago-based Illinois Institute of Technology, said China's economic growth target of around 5.5 percent for 2022 is "very realistic" and that there is a possibility that China might overshoot the number, "judging by the country's past record of predicting future growth rates."

"Well-positioned" to basically achieve socialist modernization by 2035, China is "going to be the major force of stability in the global economy" because of a "solid supply chain" and "a low rate of inflation" as the world's second-largest economy is also upgrading its industrial sector, according to the economist.

Attempts by some nations to decouple from the Chinese economy "have failed miserably," Tourk observed, adding that China, a champion of globalization and free trade, is "embracing foreign direct investment with open arms" because it will produce both win-win results and a force of peace.

"We see foreign direct investment flowing into China, with companies like Tesla and Apple expanding their operations there," he continued. "So this is a sign that Western multinationals are betting on China's economic future."

The scholar said he expects China to continue contributing at least one-third of global growth in the coming years.

"I think the world feels grateful to China and its economic planners to keep the country on a trajectory that would promise better economic conditions not only in China but in the rest of the world," he noted.

As a member of the China Group at the University of Chicago, Tourk has researched the BRI, a transcontinental program aimed at regional connectivity, integration and development.

Tourk told Xinhua that he felt pessimistic about Western approaches to helping underdeveloped countries modernize.

But when China announced the BRI in 2013, Tourk was pleased to see a major country genuinely interested in improving the welfare and livelihood of people in developing countries.

China's development and growth is "of auspicious significance" to developing nations, he said. "For the first time, these nations are being treated with a sense of respect and desire to give them sincere advice on how to develop."

The BRI cooperation has maintained a sound momentum despite shocks from factors including the COVID-19 pandemic, said Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi recently. He also vowed that China would work with the international community to make the initiative a "belt of development" to the world's benefit and a "road to happiness" for all countries.

Tourk echoed the assessment, saying that the vital initiative "has been moving from strength to strength, from success to success" while contributing to the creation of new supply chains and the further integration of the global economy.

"As the process of integration picks up, we would think that different nations would have a better understanding of each other and this, in a sense, bodes well for future peace," he noted.


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