Na­tion pre­pared to play larger role in global sys­tem

China Daily (Canada) - - ACROSS AMERICA - By CECILY LIU in Lon­don cecily@mail.chi­nadai­lyuk.com

As China plays a larger role on the global stage, the two sessions are be­com­ing in­creas­ingly sig­nif­i­cant in­ter­na­tion­ally, ac­cord­ing to a se­nior aca­demic in Lon­don.

Erik Ber­glof, di­rec­tor of the Lon­don School of Eco­nom­ics’ In­sti­tute of Global Af­fairs, said China’s do­mes­tic re­form and its cham­pi­oning of free trade and glob­al­iza­tion set the scene for this year’s leg­isla­tive meet­ings.

“Chi­nese lead­ers need to do much more to take into ac­count the in­ter­na­tional im­pli­ca­tions of do­mes­tic de­ci­sions,” he said. “China is an im­por­tant part of the global eco­nomic sys­tem. It can­not stand on the side­lines.”

He re­ferred to pro­jectssuch as the Asian In­fra­struc­ture In­vest­ment Bank and the Belt and Road Ini­tia­tive as im­por­tant ex­am­ples of the na­tion’s aspi­ra­tion to en­cour­age global growth and devel­op­ment.

Mean­while, China’s do­mes­tic is­sues, such as the need to trim ex­cess ca­pac­ity from its heavy man­u­fac­tur­ing sec­tor and the ris­ing debt lev­els, need to be dealt with be­cause “those is­sues will have ram­i­fi­ca­tions, not just forChina, but also for the rest of the world”.

Ber­glof, who for­merly worked as chief econ­o­mist and spe­cial ad­viser to the pres­i­dent of the Euro­pean Bank for Re­con­struc­tion and Devel­op­ment, said the AIIB is an en­cour­ag­ing ini­tia­tive, es­pe­cially in set­ting a prece­dent to show that de­vel­op­ing economies can take a lead­ing role in es­tab­lish­ing a multi­na­tional devel­op­ment bank.

“The AIIB is in­no­va­tive in the way it came about,” he said. “It is an ini­tia­tive by an emerg­ing econ­omy, and it was built from a lot of learn­ing from other in­sti­tu­tions. It has at­tracted plenty of staff from other in­ter­na­tional fi­nan­cial in­sti­tu­tions quickly.”

He said it is also im­por­tant for China to con­sider how to in­volve other coun­tries and in­sti­tu­tions in its projects, rather than try­ing to achieve ob­jec­tives alone.

Ac­cord­ingto Ber­glof, China will have to play an in­creas­ingly im­por­tant role in up­hold­ing the rules of global in­sti­tu­tions such as the­World Trade Or­ga­ni­za­tion be­cause theUnited States un­der­Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump is ques­tion­ing their le­git­i­macy.

Erik Ber­glof, di­rec­tor of the Lon­don School of Eco­nom­ics’ In­sti­tute of Global Af­fairs

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