C-100's annual meeting focuses on China's reforms

Updated: 2014-04-28 13:05

By Chen Jia in San Francisco (China Daily USA)

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The whole world has noticed China's success, but can the world's second-largest economy implement another round of fundamental reforms to promote sustainable development?

That was the focus of discussions and speeches on Saturday as around 300 community leaders, scholars and government officials from China and the United States met for the 23rd Annual Conference of the Committee of 100 (C-100), an organization of Chinese-American leaders that serves as a bridge in building constructive relations between the world's two largest economies.

"My involvement with China's economic policy was many years ago from the 1980s, when China just began transition to marketing economy," said Joseph Stiglitz, a Nobel Laureate in economics, in his keynote speech at the meeting, Charting a Path for China.

Stiglitz said no country in recorded history has grown as fast - and moved as many people out of poverty - as China has during the last 30 years, thanks to what he called its "better strategy of transition".

However, the Columbia University professor said that China's challenges in developing a reform agenda are clear.

The global economy is beset by malaise and domestic issues that are growing ever more pressing, including environmental degradation, growing inequality, corruption and a lack of trust, he said.

Stiglitz said China will have to restructure its economy, moving from export-led growth to domestically driven growth, and it will have to redefine the role of government.

At the same time, he said that China's impressive record of pulling millions from poverty in the last decades shows it has the capacity to make changes on a grand scale.

Stiglitz said the policy priorities necessary to move the country forward include "reducing inequality" and spending more on healthcare and education.

He also discussed what he said was the deeper issue that China faces concerning the appropriate roles of the state and the market, which he wrote about in his latest column in Social Europe Journal in March.

"When China began its reforms more than three decades ago, the direction was clear: the market needed to play a far greater role in resource allocation. And so it has, with the private sector far more important now than it was," he wrote in the column.

"Many of China's problems today stem from toomuchmarket and toolittlegovernment. Or, to put it another way, while the government is clearly doing some things that it should not, it is also not doing some things that it should," he wrote.

Lin Jianhai, the secretary-general of the International Monetary Fund, also spoke at the conference on the theme of Changing Global landscape: Challenges and opportunities.

He said that overall growth remains slow and unbalanced since the global economy emerged from the great recession.

"Advanced and emerging-market economies still face significant challenges, including China," he said.

Other speakers addressed how to build Sino-US strategic trust and weighed the impact of China's domestic reforms on the bilateral relationship.

"As China and US interact with each other much more than before, our trust level has not increased," said professor Jia Qingguo, dean of the School of International Studies at Peking University. "Actually, it has declined in recent years."

"When China is on the rise, we can see a lot of changes in the power. When such changes occur, uncertainties are created," he said.

"The relationship between China and the United States is like marriage. Every marriage has problems, but it doesn't mean the marriage is not a good thing," he added.

Inaugurated in 1991, the Committee of 100's annual conference features leaders in academia, the arts, business, government, science and technology.

Clarence Kwan, a senior partner at Sino-Century China PE Partners, became the organization's seventh chairman on April 25.

Four co-chairs also were announced at the conference: Chi-Foon Chan, president and co-CEO for Synopsys; Geoff Yang, managing director and founding partner of Redpoint Ventures; Jay Xu, director and CEO of the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco; and Tan Yuanyuan, principal dancer of the San Francisco Ballet.


 C-100's annual meeting focuses on China's reforms

The Committee of 100, a national organization of Chinese Americans, holds its 23rd annual conference in San Francisco on April 25-26. At the conference on Saturday were Clarence Kwan (second from left), a senior partner at Sino-Century China PE Partners and chairman of C-100; Dominic Ng (center), former chairman of C-100 and CEO and chairman of East West Bank; Joseph Stiglitz (second from right), Nobel Laureate in economics and professor at Columbia University; and California Governor Jerry Brown (far right). Chen Jia / China Daily

(China Daily USA 04/28/2014 page1)