Lift­ing global eco­nomic col­lab­o­ra­tion

China Daily European Weekly - - COMMENT - The au­thor is a pro­fes­sor at and as­so­ci­ate dean of the In­sti­tute of In­ter­na­tional Stud­ies at Fu­dan Uni­ver­sity. The views do not nec­es­sar­ily re­flect those of China Daily.

The Belt and Road Ini­tia­tive brings a note of eco­nomic op­ti­mism to a world that’s be­set by slug­gish growth

of the world’s high-speed rail­way net­work. There­fore, China en­joys an ad­van­tage over de­vel­oped economies when it comes to costs and the use of tech­nolo­gies for build­ing such in­fra­struc­ture fa­cil­i­ties.

China is more than will­ing to share its ex­pe­ri­ence and ex­per­tise with other coun­tries in or­der to help them boost their economies. But it has to ad­ver­tise its ex­pe­ri­ence and ex­per­tise in in­fra­struc­ture con­struc­tion in or­der to at­tract other coun­tries and en­sure its own econ­omy grows at a healthy rate. Such sup­ply­de­mand part­ner­ships have been em­braced by other economies at such a pace that the Belt and Road Ini­tia­tive has, in less than four years, ex­panded to Africa and even Latin Amer­ica. In ad­di­tion, a UN Se­cu­rity Coun­cil res­o­lu­tion has urged that ef­forts be made to im­ple­ment the Belt and Road Ini­tia­tive to boost re­gional co­op­er­a­tion, es­pe­cially for the re­vival of Afghanistan’s econ­omy.

In his key­note speech at the Belt and Road fo­rum, Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping made it clear that China is ad­vanc­ing the ini­tia­tive without any in­ten­tion of ex­port­ing its so­cial sys­tem or de­vel­op­ment mode. China doesn’t in­tend to form any desta­bi­liz­ing groups, ei­ther. In­stead, it wants to fos­ter a har­mo­nious fam­ily of economies.

More­over, even though China pro­posed the Belt and Road Ini­tia­tive, it is in­ter­ested nei­ther in im­pos­ing its view upon other coun­tries nor in dom­i­nat­ing the Belt and Road projects. China knows that such an un­prece­dented ini­tia­tive has to be “con­sulted, built and shared” to­gether. This is a ma­jor rea­son 29 heads of state and gov­ern­ment par­tic­i­pated in the Bei­jing fo­rum, where ev­ery rep­re­sented econ­omy was a stake­holder.

As far as con­sul­ta­tion is con­cerned, China in­tends to be an equal part­ner with other col­lab­o­ra­tors. To build to­gether, it is ready to con­trib­ute to as well as learn from its part­ners. And to share to­gether, China has no in­ten­tion of dom­i­nat­ing the process— rather, it seeks mu­tu­ally ben­e­fi­cial re­sults. Since Xi pro­posed the Belt and Road Ini­tia­tive in 2013, China has been smooth­ing its dis­course on how eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment can be used to make the world a bet­ter place. The suc­cess of the Bei­jing fo­rum shows that China’s dis­course has been well re­ceived.

This is es­pe­cially im­por­tant at a time when global eco­nomic growth is slug­gish, and na­tion­al­ist and pro­tec­tion­ist sen­ti­ments in the US and some Euro­pean coun­tries pose a threat to glob­al­iza­tion, es­pe­cially be­cause over-pro­tec­tion­ist mea­sures could lead to a cur­rency, or even trade, con­flict.

Amid the global eco­nomic gloom, the Belt and Road Ini­tia­tive in­jects afresh the spirit of mul­ti­lat­eral co­op­er­a­tion into the world econ­omy and will cre­ate win-win op­por­tu­ni­ties, which could lead to a more vi­brant re­gional and global eco­nomic re­cov­ery.

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