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"Set Sail on a New Voyage of G20 Cooperation" by Wang Yi
2018/11/29

Set Sail on a New Voyage of G20 Cooperation

Wang Yi

State Councilor and Foreign Minister

The People’s Republic of China

This year marks the 10th anniversary of the global financial crisis.

Ten years ago, the financial meltdown that started from Wall Street plunged global markets and the international community into deep panic. At that critical juncture, leaders of the 20 largest economies representing over 80% of global output came together. Through equal dialogue and coordinated actions, they brought the world economy which was rapidly sliding to the brink back to the track of stability and growth, and that represented the start of the G20 Summit.

Over the past decade, G20 leaders have been meeting regularly to steer the world economy. From stabilizing the market and restoring confidence to promoting reforms and addressing future challenges, the G20, as the premier forum for international economic cooperation, has played a leading role in all different aspects of global economic governance. Nevertheless, as we gradually put the global financial crisis behind, some people seem to get the impression that G20 cooperation is no longer urgent. Some even question the relevance and future of the mechanism.

Is it true that the G20 has accomplished its historical mission and become less important? The answer is no. The world is suffering from economic shocks brought about by rising unilateralism and protectionism, and the developing countries are increasingly affected by the negative spillovers of shifting monetary policies of the developed economies. Fundamental challenges facing the global economy, including insufficient drivers of growth, inadequate global economic governance and unbalanced development are yet to be effectively resolved. Moreover, economic and trade tensions are spreading rapidly to the political and security fields, which is not good news for world peace and stability.

A new decade calls for new leadership from the G20.

The G20 must demonstrate leadership in upholding multilateralism. Multilateralism has proven to be an effective means for improving global governance, tackling common challenges and achieving collective development. The multilateral trading regime with the WTO at its core, a key component of multilateralism, should be strengthened rather than weakened. Reform of the WTO is an important G20 agenda. China agrees with necessary reforms of the WTO. Meanwhile, we hold that the core values and basic principles of the WTO should be upheld, and the development space of developing countries must be respected and preserved.

The G20 must demonstrate leadership in advancing reform. The G20 has introduced a host of reforms aiming at improving global economic governance. We must continue our efforts to implement the roadmap for reforming the international financial system and increase the representation and voice of developing countries, thus creating a new international financial order that is equitable, fair, inclusive and rules-based.

The G20 must demonstrate leadership in supporting innovation. It is time that the G20 to seize the opportunities of the new scientific and technological revolution, and advance cooperation to apply new technologies, harness the digital economy and promote jobs for the future. At the same time, the G20 needs to be mindful of the side effects and negative impacts of new technologies on the economy, the society and people’s life, and help the world economy achieve growth of higher quality.

The G20 must demonstrate leadership in promoting development. It needs to actively implement the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, strengthen infrastructure connectivity, help developing countries accelerate development and protect their legitimate rights and policy space so that no one is left behind.

Such leadership requires a spirit of partnership among G20 members. The upcoming G20 Summit in Buenos Aires will be closely watched worldwide as it explores new ways to advance international economic cooperation under new circumstances. China is celebrating the 40th anniversary of its reform and opening up this year. We will remain a staunch supporter, defender and contributor to multilateralism and to an open world economy. We are ready to step up cooperation with all parties to boost confidence in the world economy and contribute our share to common development.

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