BUSINESS Intl agencies, experts expect China to drive global growth in post-pandemic era

BUSINESS

Intl agencies, experts expect China to drive global growth in post-pandemic era

Xinhua

16:20, December 09, 2020

BEIJING -- In its latest Economic Outlook report, the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development predicted that China will be the only major economy to record positive performance in 2020 with a 1.8-percent growth.

A constructor gazes afar at a height of about 500 meters at the construction site of a high rise building in Wuhan, Hubei province, on Aug 11, 2020. (Photo: Xinhua)

By the end of 2021, global gross domestic product is projected to reach pre-pandemic level, with China expected to account for over a third of world economic expansion, according to the report released on Dec 1.

These heartening figures reflecting the vitality and resilience of the Chinese economy have uplifted international agencies and foreign experts, who believe China, with a fresh development blueprint and unremitting efforts to forge a new growth pattern, will continue driving global growth in the post-pandemic era.

China's outstanding rebound

The pandemic has inhibited investments and impeded flows of goods and personnel, precipitating the worst recession since the Great Depression in the 1930s.

The world economy will shrink by 4.2 percent this year as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to exert a substantial toll on economies and societies, according to the OECD report.

The contribution of Europe and North America to global growth, the OECD said, will "remain smaller than their weight in the world economy." In the United States, the GDP is expected to contract by 3.7 percent this year and the eurozone will witness a 7.5-percent contraction.

Under such circumstances, China's outstanding rebound and sustained momentum for growth have offered the world a silver lining and helped brighten the bleak global economic landscape.

Despite a 6.8-percent year-on-year contraction in the first quarter, the Chinese economy increased by 3.2 percent in the second quarter and maintained a steady growth of 4.9 percent in the third quarter, showing a V-shaped recovery.

"As of early autumn, almost all activities (in China) had restarted and exceeded pre-pandemic levels in seasonally adjusted terms. Industrial production has also risen and capacity utilization is increasing," the OECD said in its report.

The organization also pointed out that new COVID-19 cases reported sporadically in China will not pose a major risk to its economy because of its "proven tracing, testing and isolation system."

"It appears that once again, China is driving the global economy out of the trough," said Margit Molnar, head of the China Desk of the OECD.

"China will stand out with its robust growth throughout our forecast horizon," Molnar said. "In that sense, China will likely remain a greater contributor to global growth than it was in the couple of years prior to the pandemic."

China's economic growth amid the pandemic is leading the world, and global chief financial officers have upgraded their outlook for China's economy to "Modestly Improving" in the fourth quarter of the year from its third quarter rating of "Stable," according to a recent survey conducted by the CNBC Global CFO Council.

Similar projections from other organizations such as the Bank of China Research Institute and the International Monetary Fund have highlighted the fact that China has served as a major engine of the world economy amid the pandemic, said Xulio Rios, director of the Observatory of Chinese Politics in Spain.

Shared opportunities

Upholding the vision of shared benefits, China has decided to speed up a new development pattern of "dual circulation," which is expected to enable the world's second largest economy to share more of its development opportunities with the world.

The new pattern, where domestic and foreign markets can boost each other, with the domestic market as the mainstay, does not mean a closed-door circulation, but represents a continuation of China's opening-up efforts.

With its per capita GDP topping $10,000 and middle-income population exceeding 400 million, China has a huge domestic market with growing appetite for a greater variety of quality products, technologies and services from across the world.

As the global demand has waned amid the pandemic, the steady unleashing of the Chinese market potential will certainly provide the most-desired business possibilities and add stronger impetus to the stable growth of the global economy.

"China was the first country to fully recover," said Molnar. "That has a very big importance for the world because it means the second biggest economy in the world has recovered. This means a huge source of demand for all the other countries."

"In the post-pandemic era, China will continue to be the locomotive of global growth," said Koh King Kee, president of Malaysia's think tank Center for New Inclusive Asia.

"China's huge market and domestic demand are like a huge driving gear to bring about the recovery and development of the world economy and bring more opportunities to other countries and the world," he said.

The new development pattern will also prompt China to take a more active part in the international division of labor, and get more tightly integrated into global industrial, supply and value chains.

Despite the pandemic-induced obstacles, China's foreign trade of goods totaled 29.04 trillion yuan (about $4.44 trillion) in the first 11 months, up 1.8 percent year-on-year, according to official figures.

Commitment to opening-up

By unveiling proposals for a stable and consistent development plan with a pledge of further opening-up, China has injected a sense of certainty into a turbulent world and rekindled global hope for a long-term stable growth.

In the next five years and beyond, China will enhance the level of opening-up, promote trade and investment liberalization and facilitation, and strengthen the comprehensive competitiveness of foreign trade.

With new steps to be taken in reform and opening-up, China will further improve its socialist market economy and basically complete the building of a high-standard market system, and form the new institutions of a higher-level open economy.

The new blueprint is the latest demonstration of China's dedication to building an open economy over the years.

From the Foreign Investment Law to a shortened negative list for foreign investment, from more pilot programs for promotion of trade in services to the steadily eased financial market access, China's steps in pursuit of opening-up has never been stalled by mounting protectionism and unilateralism amid the pandemic.

Commending China's breakthroughs in improving business and investment environment, Anton Moskalenkov, director of the International Relations Office of Russia's Agency for Strategic Initiatives, said China's open market, with "growing consumer demand, emerging new areas of consumption, and rapid diversification of products," is very appealing to every entrepreneur.

To honor its opening-up commitment, China has rolled out such platforms as the Belt and Road Initiative, the China International Import Expo (CIIE) and the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank.

For example, the CIIE, whose third edition ran from Nov 5 to 10, has grown into a major platform for international procurements, investment promotion, cultural exchanges and open cooperation.

"For the post-pandemic era, China has reiterated its commitment to deeper and larger reform and opening-up, as well as to the free trade system and multilateralism," said Koh.

China's commitment to sharing its market and providing the world with quality products will "push forward economic integration" and "bring mutual benefits to China and the world," said the expert.

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