THE G20 Leaders’ Summit to be held in Hangzhou, East China’s Zhejiang province, in September has acquired special importance because of the sluggish global economy. Given its representational nature, members’ equal status and flexible arrangement, the G20 is a very important platform for global economic governance. No wonder economic growth and global structural reform are key topics of the Hangzhou G20 summit.
As the rotating chair of the G20, China has made ample preparations for this year’s summit, including arranging three coordinators’ meetings, three conferences of finance ministers and central bank governors, and multiple ministerial-level meetings. These meetings have already resulted in some agreements, which include the 48 guiding principles and the structural reforms of nine main sectors, ranging from facilitating open investment and trade to promoting innovation. G20 states have also agreed to evaluate the progress of reform every two years according to the standards and principles. And these agreements will be submitted to the summit for further discussions and subsequent approval.
About 30 major agreements are likely to be reached at the Hangzhou G20 summit, making it one of the most fruitful meetings of the group and reflecting the high expectations of the international community from China as the summit host.
Indeed, the world expects China to play a bigger role in improving global economic governance, stimulating global recovery and balancing the interests of various economies. Among the three major roles that China has to play, the most important is its leadership in global economic governance.
Since the beginning of the 21st century, traditional international economic governance mechanisms such as the World Trade Organization, International Monetary Fund and the World Bank have found themselves less capable of dealing with the emerging problems, let alone solving them. It is China that has boosted the confidence of economies with its Silk Road Economic Belt and 21st Century Maritime Silk Road (or the Belt and Road Initiative), and the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank. China has been widely praised for successfully hosting the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, 2010 World Expo in Shanghai and the 2014 APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting in Beijing. It has proved its ability to play a leading role in global financial governance, too.
The second major role for China is to lead world economic growth, especially because the global economy is still struggling to recover from the 2008 global financial crisis.
The international community expects China to use the summit to strengthen the G20 investment system, boost global trade, better coordinate investment policies and accelerate global economic recovery. The international community also expects China to keep playing the role of the driver of world economic growth.
As the largest developing country, China also has a third role to play: acting as a bridge between developing and developed countries. The G20 evolved from G7 and G8, the so-called rich clubs, and has too many interests to balance: the interests of developed and developing countries, the interests of the G20 and non-G20 economies, and those of countries and international organizations.
And no country can help it play that role better than China, because despite being the second-largest economy it is still a developing country. We are confident that China will play these roles well, because it has shown ample sincerity in the process and preparatory work for the G20 summit. And we hope, with the joint efforts of China and other economies, the Hangzhou summit will become the most fruitful and significant one in G20 history.