China Made New Contributions to Global Development Last Year
Zhang Jun, Director-General of the Department of International Economic Affairs of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs
After 10 years’ sluggish growth, the world economy displayed a gradual upswing in 2017 despite its performance at the beginning of the year. As estimated by international institutions, the world economy grew by 3.7 percent and 120 economies saw a pickup in growth in 2017, marking the broadest synchronized global growth upsurge since 2010. This did not come easily. It is widely held in the international community that it was the performance of the Chinese economy, which has been strikingly impressive over the last year, which contributed significantly to the global economic recovery.
China injected strong impetus into the world economy with its growth. In 2017, China’s GDP reached 82.7 trillion yuan ($12.95 trillion), an increase of 6.9 percent year-on-year, or in other words, China grew by a middle-sized economy last year. Over the past five years, China’s annual average contribution to global economic growth has stayed above 30 percent, exceeding the combined total of the United States, Europe and Japan. Energetically devoted to building an open economy, China registered an outbound direct investment of $120 billion and imports of 12.46 trillion yuan in 2017, thus providing a vast market, investment and development opportunities for other countries. According to statistics from research institutions, China’s e-commerce accounts for 40 percent of the world’s total, larger than that of the US, Japan, UK, France and Germany put together.
Chinese tourists made 129 million outbound trips, giving a huge boost to consumption in the destination countries. A vibrant and resilient Chinese economy continued to be the stabilizer and powerhouse for global growth.
China promoted the development of economic globalization. At the beginning of 2017, when the world was puzzled about where economic globalization should go, President Xi Jinping delivered a keynote speech at the Davos World Economic Forum, envisaging more open, inclusive, balanced, win-win economic globalization that benefits all. At a pivotal time, his speech pointed out the future direction and boosted international confidence in economic globalization. China pursues innovative, coordinated, green and open development that is for everyone. Based on its own development practices and through such cooperation platforms as the G20 and APEC, China is working vigorously to promote an open world economy, advocate the digital economy and innovative growth, and advance regional cooperation and FTAs, thus contributing China’s wisdom to the world economy.
China provided popular public goods for global cooperation. As one of the world’s most popular international public goods, the Belt and Road Initiative, proposed by China, advocates policy consultation, trade promotion, infrastructure connectivity, financial cooperation and people-to-people exchanges. At the heart of the initiative are connectivity and interconnectivity. The purpose is to integrate China’s development with that of the world, and forge a new cooperation platform for fresh sources of economic growth, and development opportunities for every country. To date, more than 100 countries and international organizations are participating in the Belt and Road Initiative in various ways, and more than 80 of them have signed cooperation agreements with China. Over 270 outcomes were produced by the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation held in Beijing in May. And the many connectivity projects already underway are improving the development environment for participating countries and expanding the space and potential for regional cooperation. Achieving shared growth through discussion and collaboration－the cornerstone of the Belt and Road Initiative – points to a new direction for improved global economic governance, and offers a new model for international cooperation.
China remained committed to providing solutions for global problems. China focused on the implementation of the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and made contributions to meeting global challenges and achieving common development with concrete actions. China pursues people-centered development with firmness of purpose, resulting in continued improvement of its people’s living standards and quality of life. In 2017, another 10 million-plus people were lifted out of poverty, bringing China steadily toward the goal of zero rural poverty by the current poverty standard by 2020. China actively responded to the climate challenge, vigorously promoted an ecological civilization, and achieved remarkable progress in pollution prevention and control. In China, the sky is bluer and the water clearer. China made great efforts to transform its growth model and pressed ahead with supply-side structural reform, providing useful reference for other countries as they explore their own development paths. Switching from high-speed growth to high-quality development, China is offering more and more positive energy to the world economy.
The 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China inaugurated a new journey to secure a decisive victory in building a moderately prosperous society in all respects and fully build a modern socialist China. In this new era, China is more closely connected with the rest of the world. While striving for the well-being of the Chinese people, China takes it as its mission to make new and greater contributions to humankind. China pursues the mutually beneficial and win-win strategy of opening-up, and remains committed to building an open global economy, a new type of international relations and a community with a shared future for all mankind. China knows well its responsibilities, and will duly fulfill them. Building a beautiful world calls for the joint efforts of all countries and for individual countries to do their own things well. Some people only cast their eyes on others and get themselves busy hyping up this “threat” and that “trap” while enjoying the benefits of others’ development. This is irresponsible. The theme of the ongoing Davos World Economic Forum is “Creating a Shared Future in a Fractured World”. We hope that all countries will reflect on this and work together to secure the right direction for global development.