The recent protectionist measures initiated by the United States against China and other countries indicates that a wave of US-led anti-globalization has emerged. This leaves China no options but to make a strong counterattack. However, China will continue to open itself to the outside world and in fact, it has always been an important promoter of global economic development and a vital advocate for the international economic order.
As the world’s most populous country, China’s development has important implications for world development. Since it launched the reform and opening up many years ago, China’s economy has gained rapid development. With an average growth rate of 9.5% in nearly 40 years, China has brought earth-shaking changes to its economy and society and lifted more than 90% of Chinese people out of poverty. Statistically, China’s rural poverty population has decreased from 770 million in 1978 to 30 million in 2017, the poverty incidence fell from 97.5% to 3.1% in 2017, which reduced the global poverty by 76%. The achievements of poverty reduction made by China have been highly recognized by the United Nations, the World Bank and other international organizations. The rapid development of China’s economy has increased China’s share of the world economy and made a greater contribution to the world economic development. In particular, China’s economic growth has injected a strong driving force for the world economy and contributed more than 30% to the global economic growth after the international financial crisis in 2008, making it the biggest contributor of the global development.
China’s economic development has not only contributed directly to the world’s economic growth, but has also led to the economic development in many other countries through foreign trade and investment. In 2017, China was the world’s largest trading country, its volume of import and export reached 27.79 trillion yuan, equivalent to 4.10 trillion US dollars and it is the largest trading partner of more than 120 countries and regions, including the United States. In 2017, China’s imports amounted to 12.46 trillion yuan, a year-on-year increase of 18.7%, equivalent to 1.84 trillion US dollars. The large amount of goods imported from developing countries effectively boosted their economic growth. In the same year, China’s imports from the European Union, the United States, Japan, ASEAN, and other economies experienced a double-digit growth and the import growth from Brazil, India, and Russia were more than 30%, which played an important role in reversing the economic downturn in Brazil and Russia. Furthermore, China’s rapid growth in foreign investment in recent years has played a significant role in promoting economic growth and industrial development in many countries and regions. From 2006 and 2016, China’s direct overseas investment in non-financial sectors increased from US$17.63 billion to US$181.23 billion, an increase of approximately 10 times, which plays an important role especially in Asia and other developing countries in Africa.
As the largest developing country in the world, China has played an important role in maintaining the global economic order through its own influence. China actively participates in international economic cooperation under the multilateral framework of the UN and the World Trade Organization, the International Monetary Fund, and the World Bank. The United States has continued its anti-globalization and has become increasingly passive about the international economic system. The U.S. trade representatives have even publicly called for the renunciation of the Doha round of negotiations but China and many developing countries did not allow this to happen. After President Trump took office, the United States has announced that it will withdraw from the global “Paris Agreement” on combating climate change and UNESCO, which has had a great impact on the international order. On the contrary, China and many European Union countries have fully cooperated and publicly expressed their firm support for the Paris Agreement.
In recent years, China has played an active role in the global institutionalization and promoting global economic development by actively participating in global governance and offering proposals and programs to global governance. For example, China’s proposal of establishing the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) and the Belt and Road initiative received positive responses and extensive participation from the international community. The suggestion of creating the Asian Investment Bank, made by President Xi Jinping at the APEC in early October 2013 was supported by many countries. On June 29, 2015, the Asian Investment Banking Agreement was formally signed and came into force six months later, implying the establishment of the AIIB. On January 16, 2016, the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank was officially funded. Today, the total number of the AIIB members has increased to 80 and it has spread across all continents, including both advanced economies and a number of emerging economies and developing countries. In addition, China and the other four BRICS countries jointly initiated the establishment of the BRICS New Development Bank. As can be seen, China has made a significant effect on the improvement of the international financial system and brought impetus for the reform of the global governance system.
In September and October 2013, the Chinese President Xi Jinping proposed the joint construction of the “Silk Road Economic Belt” and the “21st Century Maritime Silk Road” initiative, which received positive response from the international community. In November 2016, the 193 member states of the UN passed a resolution unanimously to welcome the Belt and Road economic cooperation initiative, and called on the international community to provide a safe and secure environment for this initiative. On March 17, 2017, the UN Security Council unanimously approved the Resolution 2344, calling on the international community to strengthen regional economic cooperation through the Belt and Road initiative. In May 2017, the “Belt and Road” Forum for International Cooperation was held in Beijing and achieved fruitful results. Over the past five years, China has signed Belt and Road cooperation documents with more than 80 countries and international organizations, covering areas such as interconnection, production, investment, trade, finance, science and technology, society, humanities, people’s livelihood and so on. The Belt and Road initiative will bring great opportunities for world economic development and play a positive role in promoting inclusive development.
Not long ago, the United States launched the trade protectionism measures aimed at China. Recently, the US President Trump claimed that it might expand the scope of tariffs on Chinese goods. These moves will inevitably have a negative impact on the development of international trade. In response, China will not only introduce countermeasures, but also give full play to China’s international influence and charisma, and join hands with other nations to oppose the US trade protectionism measures. In the future, China will make more contribution to the global governance and stable world economic development by actively participating in global affairs and offering its wisdom and support.