Thu | Jul 9, 2020

Tian Qi | Joint efforts for new prosperity

Published:Sunday | June 7, 2020 | 12:00 AM
In this May 5, 2020, photo, Chinese online celebrity Zhang Mofan (right) introduces fresh mangoes to her online clients and fans through live-streaming at her house in Beijing. Retailers in China are embracing live-streaming as a sales channel amid a Chinese ‘shoppertainment’ boom accelerated during the COVID-19 pandemic. Via live-streaming, retailers can interact with customers in real time while customers make purchases directly in the stream.
Tian Qi
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China held this year’s two sessions of the National People’s Congress (NPC, China’s top legislature) and the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC, China’s top political advisory body) in May.

The two sessions not only set economic and social-development goals and tasks for the whole year but also adjusted China’s policies to tackle the challenges posed by COVID-19 in a more effective way. It will undoubtedly inject positive energy into a gloomy global economy.

Recalibrate priority targets of development

Based on a comprehensive assessment of the current situation, China has made proper adjustments to the targets contemplated before COVID-19 struck. This year, China will give priority to stabilising employment and ensuring living standards, continue fighting the battle against poverty, and achieve the goal of building a moderately prosperous society in all aspects. To achieve these targets, China will vigorously implement policies to keep businesses and employment stable, energise market entities through reform and strengthen new drivers of growth, implement the strategy of expanding domestic demand and promote accelerated transformation of the economic growth model, achieve poverty-reduction goals and work for good harvests and growth in rural income, promote higher-standard opening up and stabilise the overall performance of foreign trade and foreign investment, and advance the reform and development of social programmes to safeguard and improve living standards.

This year, we decided not to set a specific annual growth target. This is a pragmatic tactic in response to the uncertainty caused by the pandemic. In the meantime, we have formulated a series of goals and tasks in six key areas, namely to ensure job security, basic living needs, operations of market entities, food and energy security, stable industrial and supply chains, and the normal functioning of primary-level governments. These areas are intricately connected with economic development. Our decision is designed for economic growth to deliver more real gains to our people and promote higher-quality development in China and the world at large.

Open to further exchanges & cooperation

China will keep to its opening-up policy. We shall not waver in this commitment, nor is it possible for us to shut our door to the outside world. Instead, we will further expand our cooperation with the rest of the world and introduce more opening-up measures on our own initiative.

China will continue to open up its economy to more foreign investment, and a number of key, foreign-funded projects are expected to be launched this year in fields such as electronic information, new materials, and advanced manufacturing. In the next step, the government will shorten the negative list of areas off limits to foreign investors – all other areas are presumed to be open – and release a new version for 2020, pursuing higher-level opening-up in services, manufacturing, and agriculture.

It’s worth noting that China is aiming to establish a set of free-trade port policies focusing on trade and investment facilitation across the whole island of Hainan, which is three times as big as Jamaica, by 2025, building an economy with a new height of openness by 2035 and a high-level free-trade port of global influence by the middle of the century. Chinese President Xi Jinping has underlined the high-quality and high-standard construction of the Hainan free-trade port while prioritising the innovation of institutional integration in the process. Building the Hainan free-trade port is a matter of great importance in the progress of China’s reform and opening up in the new era.

At the same time, China will expand imports and outbound investments. We are convinced that, as the first country in the region to sign the cooperation plan on jointly building the Belt and Road, Jamaica will see more projects for development with Chinese investment in years to come. China-Jamaica relations will also strengthen the prospects for continued development with other Caribbean countries.

Uphold multilateralism and improve global governance

The convening of the two sessions amid the COVID-19 crisis is of great significance to the entire world, as China is pursuing the following goals.

First, globalisation needs to be more inclusive and beneficial to all. Globalisation represents an inevitable trend in the development of the world and a strong tide driving human progress. Attempts to reject globalisation and fall back on protectionism will have no future. As we continue to maximise cost efficiency through optimising global allocation of resources, we must pay more attention to addressing the issues that have accompanied globalisation, such as the widening wealth gap and regional imbalances. China has been calling for economic globalisation to be more open, inclusive, balanced, and beneficial to all.

Second, multilateralism must be safeguarded and promoted even more firmly. COVID-19 drives home once again that no country, no matter how strong it is, can insulate itself from a global challenge. In the face of mounting global challenges, only multilateralism can bring the world together, only solidarity can see us through the current difficulties.

The dynamism of Chinese-Caribbean development will continue to build our global village and partnerships to unite shared causes. China is ready to work with the international community to bolster support for the hardest-hit countries under the greatest strain of debt service so that they could tide over the current difficulties.

Third, global governance needs to be reformed and improved. COVID-19 has exposed deficiencies in global governance capacity and systems and calls for urgent improvement and reform of global governance.

China is of the view that the United Nations must play a central role. WHO and other UN-specialised agencies must be able to perform their mandates without hindrance.

All countries must intensify macro-policy coordination where appropriate and strengthen governance capacity. We must redouble our commitment to international law and the basic norms of international relations.

After the SARS outbreak in 2003, the Internet economy thrived in China. And after the COVID-19 epidemic, China may witness even larger transformations since the pandemic did not destroy the basic conditions of China’s development.

We will prevail

Under the strong leadership of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, with General Secretary Xi Jinping as its core, and with joint efforts of people across the nation, we are confident that we will be able to prevail over the current difficulties, fulfil our tasks and goals for the whole year, and complete the building of a moderately prosperous society in all respects.

China will remain a positive force driving global economic recovery and growth. China is prepared to work with Jamaica and all other countries to completely defeat COVID-19, restore economic vitality, and promote development in the region and the world with Oriental wisdom and strength. We hope and believe that, with joint efforts of people around the world, the post-COVID-19 world will be a more open one to embrace new prosperity.

- Tian Qi is ambassador of China to Jamaica. Email feedback to xiajamaica@gmail.com.