Europe and the United States are headed for an economic, military and political disaster, stemming from wrong decisions made around the conflict in Ukraine, the aftermath of COVID-19 on the economy and the very bankruptcy of the NATO global economies. At the same time, China’s decision to lift quarantine restrictions that were necessary to combat the pandemic, along with the measures and reforms implemented at the 20th CPC National Congress, which emphasizes "quality" growth and "technological self-sufficiency,” placed China in a solid position of internal economic strength with a full capacity to relaunch its investment strategy in infrastructure and commercial expansion on an international scale. All this will give new impetus to the Euro-Asian Economic Union (EAEU), the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), as well as the Belt and Road Initiative and alliance with the BRICS countries, to which more and more countries from all over the world are joining. In this context, China will be a determining factor in achieving peace and a just new international economic order in 2023.
Regarding the internal economy, in the last three years, China has been the country that has shown the most resilience in the face of a Western economy that pulls the planet toward a deep economic depression. The latest data from China's National Bureau of Statistics showed that from January to November, the added value of China's industries above a designated size increased by 3.8 percent year-on-year, and the number of new jobs nationwide reached 11.45 million, hitting the annual target of 11 million. In any country, industries above a designated size are the ones that produce more jobs, and that is the key for maintaining the whole population above the level of poverty.
Internal economic resilience, the removal of restrictions regarding COVID and opening up to foreign investment laid the foundations for a new phase of economic expansion from China toward global trade. In 2022, against background pressure on the world economy and the weakening momentum of global trade, China has actively expanded its opening up, showing the resilience of foreign trade development. From January to November, the total import and export of goods increased by 8.6 percent year-on-year, of which exports increased by 11.9 percent. This clearly refutes the assessments of the Western media and experts who blame China for the negative prospects they project for the economies of the Transatlantic Axis in 2023.
The United States is now only supported by the printing of fictitious money and the extraordinary income from oil and gas that it is selling to Europe at a very high price. In August 2022, the price of gas for Europe was five times more expensive than the price before the conflict in Ukraine; and from the proceeds of arms sales. In contrast, a World Bank report states that in 2023 China’s economy will grow by 4.3 percent. We are talking about fictitious economy versus the real economy. There is no point, at this moment, in specifying whether China’s growth will be higher or not. It is not about achieving rapid growth at all costs, but high quality growth.
China is in the transition from being an economic superpower to being a technological superpower. The 20th CPC National Congress placed special emphasis on “technological autonomy.” Why? Because if China achieves parity with traditional tech leaders, the scale of its operations will profoundly alter the global tech landscape. The secret for that is to maintain a high rate of technological innovations, what we call "inventions" and their impact on "added value.” In the first 11 months of 2022, China's investment in high-tech industries increased by 19.9 percent year-on-year, while the added value of high-tech manufacturing rose 8 percent.
China is the world's second-largest economy, the world's largest trader in goods, and an important link in the global value chain. The stability of China's economy is very important to global investors. The Chinese presence in the global value chain has penetrated like ivy on a wall, in all sectors of the world economy, starting with Europe and the United States, from the manufacture of shoes and clothing, to computers and electronic accessories, microchips, semiconductors, 5G and 6G systems, robotics, as well as the aerospace industry, in addition to China's already very close dominance in high speed railroads and water managing and transference throughout long distances, so necessary for the large regions of the world that suffer from drought today.
China continues to improve the investment environment, and the level of investment liberalization and facilitation has been greatly improved. In recent years, China has promulgated the "Foreign Investment Law" and its implementing regulations, established and improved a complaint mechanism for foreign-invested enterprises, and established a service system for foreign investment. These policy measures protect the legitimate rights and interests of foreign investors and encourage foreign investors to enter the Chinese market.
Since the outbreak of the pandemic, China has become a global example of how to deal with this challenge. China has efficiently responded to the impact of five waves of the global pandemic through overall planning, and maintained an average annual economic growth rate of about 4.5 percent, which is significantly higher than the world average. With the optimization and adjustment of China's pandemic prevention and control measures, China's economy will continue to recover.
Regarding China-Mexico cooperation, Mexican President López Obrador, despite the brutal pressures imposed on him by his geopolitical situation as a neighbor of the superpower of the North, has maintained a policy of open doors for trade and investment from China in Mexico.
The Chinese automotive sector participates in Mexico with more than 16 percent of products manufactured in China. The opinion among Mexican consumers is growing that Chinese products are beginning to be characterized by their quality and durability.
The presence of Chinese-manufactured electric cars is also growing and there are large investment projects on the horizon. According to the secretary of commerce of Mexico, in a list of 400 companies that are requesting to establish themselves in Mexico, the majority come from China. China is also part of the foreign investment in the exploitation of lithium in an important deposit in northwestern Mexico and a section of the Mayan Train in the southeast of the country, as well as the Metro in Mexico City. Whether as clients or as partners, Mexico and China march together.
(The author is Hugo López Ochoa, Schiller Institute Researcher and compiled by Xie Jianing. The article reflects the author's opinion, and not necessarily the views of People's Daily.)