China reaffirms opening-up, stresses cooperation at Development Forum

Chinese President Xi Jinping on Sunday reiterated China’s commitment to opening-up in a congratulatory letter to a high-level dialogue forum that saw the gathering of officials from international organizations, global executives, and economists, sending a strong signal to participants that the nation will continue to create new opportunities for a world that has been derailed by regional conflicts and disturbances.

Coming as fears about a spillover effect of the Silicon Valley Bank failure send fresh shudders through the markets, and growing protectionism and geopolitical conflicts are casting a shadow on the already weakening global economic recovery, the three-day event, China Development Forum (CDF), marks a rare and precious global dialogue platform for global elites to settle concerns and seek for growth in the “unprecedented changes,” observers said.

Xi said in the letter that at present, momentous changes of a like not seen in a century are accelerating across the world, regional conflicts and disturbances are frequent, and the global economic recovery is sluggish. The facilitation of a global economic recovery requires consensus and cooperation, he said, according to a report from the Xinhua News Agency.

He noted that China will remain committed to its fundamental national policy of opening to the outside world, pursue a mutually beneficial strategy of opening up, and continue to create new opportunities for the world with new advances in China’s development.

China will steadily expand institutional opening up with regard to rules, regulations, management and standards, and will work with all countries and all parties to share the opportunities from its institutional opening up, Xi said.

Chinese Premier Li Qiang will meet with foreign representatives attending the forum on Monday, Lu Hao, Chair of the CDF 2023 and President of Development Research Center of the State council said on Sunday morning, indicating the nation’s emphasis on foreign investment.

Chinese Vice Premier Ding Xuexiang, who read Xi’s letter at the opening ceremony of the CDF, stressed that China will advance opening-up and share market opportunities with the world in a keynote speech on Sunday.

In an apparent move to brush aside foreign misunderstanding of China’s policies, Ding emphasized the importance of establishing a new development pattern, explaining that China aims to foster a more open “dual circulation” economic model involving both domestic and foreign markets rather than a closed domestic loop.

The CDF 2023, themed “Economic Recovery: Opportunities and Cooperation” is an annual event hosted by the Development Research Center of the State Council, China’s Cabinet. It is the first major conference to be held in the country after the conclusion of the annual two sessions. The 2023 meeting also marks the first time this event has been held offline since the epidemic outbreak in 2020.

A booster for world

China’s economy is seeing a strong rebound which “matters for the country itself and matters for the world,” said Kristalina Georgieva, managing director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on Sunday during a panel discussion at the CDF 2023.

Georgieva said in a statement the IMF sent to the Global Times that the robust rebound means China is set to account for around one third of global growth in 2023 – giving a welcome lift to the world economy.

“And beyond the direct contribution to global growth, our analysis shows that a 1 percentage point increase in GDP growth in China leads to 0.3 percentage point increase in growth in other Asian economies, on average – a welcome boost,” Georgieva said.

“The world is in trouble. And in times of trouble, there is one thing that is always very positive – dialogue and communication. We need more of this,” Denis Depoux, Global Managing Director, Roland Berger, told the Global Times in an interview on the sidelines of the forum on Saturday.

It is very important that right after the two sessions, this dialogue can take place in place in person with many people coming from overseas. Meeting with Chinese leaders, both government leaders and corporate leaders to exchange and to bring back a common understanding of the situation and the way forward, Depoux said.

The CDF is seen as an opportunity to introduce China’s economic policies to the world and shore up confidence across the global economy, Kang Yong, chief economist at KPMG China, told the Global Times on the sidelines of the forum, noting that China will continue to contribute its wisdom and strength to promote the recovery and development of the global economy.

Cooperation, not ‘decoupling’

More than 100 representatives of overseas multinationals, leaders of international organizations and well-known scholars are attending the CDF, with a strong presence of US firms despite a rising tech rivalry between the world’s two largest economies.

Prominent US business leaders such as Apple CEO Tim Cook, billionaire investor Ray Dalio, Cristiano Amon, CEO of US chip giant Qualcomm, Albert Bourla, CEO of Pfizer and Jon Moeller, CEO of consumer goods giant Procter & Gamble, were all in attendance.

“It is hoped that the US will abandon its zero-sum mentality, stop using unscrupulous means to contain and suppress China, and work with China to push China-US relations to overcome current difficulties and return to a healthy and stable track,” Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Qin Gang said as he welcomed US business representatives to Beijing on Saturday.

Participants refuted the “China decoupling” push at the forum as some foreign media have been hyping so-called China threats in order to kick China out of the industrial chain.

Foreign direct investment in China and Europe links our economies and is a significant counter to the notion of “decoupling,” Oliver Zipse, Chairman of the Board of Management of BMW AG, told the forum on Sunday.

Mian Abrar
Mian Abrar
The writer heads Pakistan Today's Islamabad Bureau. He has a special focus on counter-terrorism and inter-state relations in Asia, Asia Pacific and South East Asia regions. He tweets as @mian_abrar and also can be reached at [email protected]

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