Wed | Aug 23, 2017

China to propose global growth initiative

Published:Tuesday | August 16, 2016 | 8:00 AM
In this July 22, 2016 file photo, a hostess prepares for the G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors Meeting in southwestern China’s Sichuan province. China will propose a joint initiative to revive weak global growth at next month’s meeting of leaders of the Group of 20 major economies amid rising protectionist sentiment in the United States and Europe, officials said yesterday.

China will propose a joint initiative to revive weak global growth at next month's meeting of leaders of the Group of 20 (G20) major economies amid rising protectionist sentiment in the United States (US) and Europe, officials said on Monday.

Speaking at a news conference, a senior Chinese diplomat made clear Beijing wants the September 4-5 meeting to avoid political issues such as its territorial disputes with its neighbours in the South China Sea.

The meeting in the eastern Chinese city of Hangzhou comes as an unusually weak global economic recovery is helping to fuel the popularity of US and European political movements that advocate protection for local industries.

Details of Beijing's proposal still are being worked out but will include reforms aimed at strengthening the global financial system and promoting technological innovation, said the Chinese finance and foreign affairs officials.

They gave no indication it might include an economic stimulus. Some investors have expected such a measure, but officials at two previous G20 gatherings this year said the timing was wrong, because individual economies face different conditions and need to take actions tailored to their own needs.

The proposal will stress "inclusive growth" to spread economic benefits widely and shore up support for free trade, said a deputy finance minister, Zhu Guangyao. He said governments should be on "high alert" to "anti-globalisation" sentiments.

"If the people cannot feel the benefits, then this sort of development cannot truly improve people's lives, and people will have mixed feelings about such development," he said.

A deputy foreign minister, Li Baoding, made clear China wants to avoid sensitive diplomatic issues.

The consensus among members is to "focus on economic development and not be distracted by other parties," Li said when asked about territorial disputes in the South China Sea.

"The Hangzhou summit must focus on economic issues," said Li. "This is what people want to talk about most at the summit."

Li gave similar responses to questions about China's resolute opposition to South Korea's deployment of a United States missile defence system.

A desire to avoid a showdown at theG20 summit was seen by some as moderating China's response to the July 12 ruling by an international arbitration panel in The Hague, Netherlands, that invalidated China's maritime claims to virtually the entire South China Sea.

However, speculation has also risen that China might make even more assertive moves after the meeting, including possibly launching reclamation projects in new areas or declaring an air defence identification zone over the crucial waterbody.

- AP