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Liu Zhiqin: Asia-Europe talks can boost growth


By Liu Zhiqin    Source: China Daily    Published: 2016-7-15


Meeting can deliver real progress when the United States is on one side and everyone else is on the other

The international community has been looking for a new engine to accelerate economic development, which is why many countries have pinned their hopes on this year`s Asia-Europe Meeting, which takes place on July 15 and 16 in the People`s Republic of Mongolia.

With the world facing downward pressure on economic growth, people have expectations that the ASEM can create more opportunities to find a safe, practical exit from the present crises.

Asia-Europe talks can boost growth

The ASEM has 51 member countries, accounting for about 40 percent of the global population and 60 percent of global GDP. In any sense, we have no doubt the ASEM will play a critical role in the world economy.

This year`s ASEM will face new challenges and will send a message to the international community that measures to ensure smooth development must be worked out as soon as possible to stimulate economic growth, in order to coordinate with the G20 Summit in the eastern Chinese city of Hangzhou in September.

China will take this opportunity to show its concern over the present situation and its friendly wishes to strengthen ties with all Asian and European partners.

The following feature will be hot topics at the ASEM:

Asia-Europe talks can boost growth

Close cooperation is needed in policymaking. For the past 20 years, most Asian countries have contributed by developing their own economies, which in turn has helped stabilize the economy in Asia. The establishment of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank provided additional support to meet the development demands in the region.

Since the first ASEM in 1996, the countries have worked to improve the management system and set up close cooperation in all sectors such as politics, economics, finance, education, health and security, and have achieved inspiring results. That`s why most Asian countries overcame difficulties after the global financial crisis of 2008 and 2009.

To eliminate the obstacle in trading, ASEM members should escalate the process to negotiate free trade agreements. Some countries still are not ready to raise the tempo to finalize FTA talks, which will definitely hinder the deepening of cooperation with China.

China will take the opportunity to show the world that it is ready to stimulate its sharing economy with countries in Asia and Europe. Premier Li Keqiang will attend the ASEM and will meet with the state leaders of Mongolia and other major countries to discuss how China can help the ASEM realize the goals of economic growth in the next few years.

The Belt and Road Initiative - a plan to create connect China with Asia, Europe and the Middle East through the Silk Road Economic Belt and 21st Century Maritime Silk Road - is not just a dream. It is a comprehensive project that invites all the countries of Asia and Europe to share the achievements that China has made in the past 35 years of reform and opening-up. The initiative combines technology, infrastructure, scientific innovation and finance to drive new growth in the world economy. Only honest cooperation can bring these fruits to participating countries.

We are aware the timing of this year`s ASEM is sensitive due to the geopolitical conflicts that have intensified in recent months, especially the situation in the South China Sea. So, the ASEM will be a test case for the world and a good opportunity for all countries involved to perform on a global stage.

We have confidence the ASEM is a "classroom" for "students" to discuss a solution to problems without any so-appointed "teachers" telling us what to do. We`re able to handle the issue and will create a new way to solve historical conflicts. All countries understand well that developing the economy is the real goal and that only economic cooperation can bring wealth and prosperity to the people.

Europe is experiencing a difficult time, as some unexpected events have taken place in a short time frame. These events, which include the decision by Britain to leave the European Union, will surely have a negative influence on economic cooperation.

Brexit will damage the unity and connectivity of Europe and will certainly become a major reason to downgrade growth. So we have even more confidence about the future of Europe because we know that the UK and Europe will find new forms of cooperation to improve economic development. Otherwise, both sides fall into problems. This uncertainty is also an opportunity for countries to expand their business and trade relations with the UK and the EU.

Asia-Europe talks can boost growth

The anti-missile system deployed on the Korean Peninsula could also harm relations between China and South Korea and other countries, so there is still a lot of homework to do for all ASEM countries.

As for China, it will do its best to strengthen unity and cooperation within the ASEM and hold talks with countries on legal and fair conditions.

Mongolia is an important country for China, as it is a reliable and constructive neighbor. The countries have established a close partnership and support each other in international affairs. In recent years, China has become Mongolia`s most important trade partner in terms of machinery, food and natural resources, and the countries will set up close contact in the financial sector to boost infrastructure cooperation.

Mongolia plays a unique role as an unbroken bridge connecting Russia and China. Its role becomes more valuable and extremely important because of the Korean anti-missile deployment and the South China Sea disputes. We believe China will provide more funds to strengthen relations with Mongolia and Russia during the ASEM.

The world is now divided into two groups: prime states like the United States, the only superpower in the world, and sub-prime states, mostly every other country. The latter group must have more say to dictate world affairs. We must carefully handle all problems to maintain world peace and give the world a chance to save itself from economic disaster.

In our experience, we find that it is an easy job to get people to know each other. But it is more difficult to get people to understand each other. Knowing each other is only the first step to reach our goal, as understanding each other brings real fruit. So it is critical that all ASEM countries truly understand each other`s core interests, as it will lead to win-win integration of Asian and European nations, because we are all sub-prime states.

The author is a senior fellow of Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies at Renmin University of China.  


Key Words: China   EU   growth  

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