Reform roadmap before key meeting

Updated: 2013-11-04 00:29

(China Daily)

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Reform roadmap before key meeting

Parents wait in line at the Children's Hospital of Fudan University, Shanghai. The plenum is expected to set an agenda that concerns the welfare of the Chinese people. PHOTOS PROVIDED TO CHINA DAILY

Opening up

China's reforms at home and opening-up outward have mostly gone in tandem, with external opening-up providing the much-needed impetus for domestic reform. China's entry to the World Trade Organization a decade ago paved the way for more reforms and the country's economic achievements, experts say.

Recent reform efforts have come amid major shifts in the global economic balance and international power. Chin of York University says most of the changes the world is dealing with today, including global governance, were not foreseen 20 years ago, let alone 35 years ago, when China first set out on the road of reform and opening-up.

"The world today is less safe than 35 years ago, in that we are dealing with a number of fissures that threaten global security, including the rise of religious extremism and ethnic or even civilization conflicts, rather than focusing on one major line of geopolitical tension," Chin says.

Ford, a former European Parliament member, says China is now a global economic power even if some factors still have to come to terms with this new world order. "Yet in a sense it is more isolated — and perceives itself threatened — than two generations ago."

At the same time, Chin says the world is now seeing the re-emergence of many regions and economies of the South — and the rise of a group of major emerging or re-emerging economies. "China is now at the heart of many of these global shifts," Chin says. "It will be essential for China to play a constructive role and a more robust role, in helping to ensure that the world evolves toward a more sustainable, fair, stable and safe global environment."

Chin hopes China will continue to pursue necessary reforms to the international monetary, financial, and trade systems and promote reforms of the Bretton Woods system (that is the IMF, World Bank and WTO reforms).

"The 2008 global financial crisis showed that such reforms are much needed. The ongoing challenges of European sovereign debt and of the European banks and the fragile recovery of the US economy suggest that more changes are needed," Chin says.

China should help strengthen the role and capabilities of the UN system, especially by giving greater support to the UN in championing global development and ecological sustainability, he says.

Ford says that China should open up more economically, especially in sectors such as telecoms, banking and finance, make the yuan one of the three global reserve currencies, exert its rightful weight in the international forums and build bilateral trading relations with key global players.

Chin says China should host the G20 summit in 2016 and encourage G20 leaders to focus on strengthening financial stability arrangements and provide global leadership on ensuring delivery of the Bretton Woods reforms.

The new leadership has taken measures in the bilateral and multilateral spheres. It has decided to develop a new type of foreign relations, especially with the US. It has advocated launching a new Silk Road in central Asia and a coastal Silk Road with southern neighbors. It has started to engage in bilateral trade and investment pacts while pursuing multilateral efforts.

Former BBC journalist Kirby says China has a huge contribution to make to global systems. On climate change, it is already providing an example by doing what is in its own interest (decarbonizing its economy). "This makes it harder for other countries to resist adopting similar policies — and that benefits the whole planet," Kirby says.

He goes one step further and adds that since China is such a large and important country, doing what is in its own interests is certain to be of interest to others also. China should also open up to some of the global economic and trade regulatory systems, he says.

However, Schoenhals feels that China should not follow the path trod by other powers such as the US because it would lead to aging infrastructure and lack of sufficient social services for people, because most of the money ends up being used for military purposes. "I know China is proud of being a peaceful nation ... I hope China will not follow America's lead and will instead find a way to disarm, rather than arm."

Zhang Chunyan in London contributed to the story.

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