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Global Times

China pushes for multilateralism, vaccine cooperation and WTO reforms at G20

Global Times

By GT staff reporters Source: Global Times Published: 2020/11/21 23:57:46

China reiterated its determination to safeguard multilateralism and support WTO reforms during the Group of 20 (G20) summit's opening ceremony, while vowing to strengthen teamwork with overseas countries, such as in COVID-19 vaccine research and production, to combat the pandemic crisis.

The world's second-largest economy will make huge contribution to the world's post-coronavirus construction, by not only making concerted efforts to call for cross-border cooperation, but also injecting hope and momentum into global post-pandemic growth with its rapid recovery from the pandemic-triggered slowdown, experts said.

In a speech at the opening ceremony of the G20 summit via video, Chinese President Xi Jinping called for G20 countries to play a greater role in the global governance sphere, saying the world should follow the principle of extensive consultation, joint construction and sharing, uphold opening-up and inclusiveness, and adhere to win-win cooperation.

Xi stressed China's determination to safeguard multilateral trade mechanism, ensure developing countries' space and right of development and oppose protectionism.

He noted that China is ready to strengthen cooperation with other countries on research, production and distribution of vaccines for COVID-19. China will also provide support to other developing countries to let the vaccines be available and affordable to all, he said.

The summit opened Saturday as leaders from the world's wealthiest nations huddled together online to discuss solutions on how to deal with the COVID19 virus and manage the post-pandemic recovery, at a time when the virus has already caused tremendous losses for many countries.

The summit for the group, which is made up of 19 leading world economies and the EU, will try to work out measures to stem the coronavirus pandemic's impact on the world economies, with specific topics including vaccine distribution and debt relief for countries in need. The summit moved online this year due to the pandemic and will be presided over by Saudi Arabia.

Saudi Finance Minister Mohammed al-Jadaan said that the summit "will seek to strengthen international cooperation to support the global economic recovery".

China will play a "crucial" role in leading the global economy out of contraction in the next two years, said He Weiwen, a former senior trade official and executive council member of the China Society for World Trade Organization Studies.

"From vaccine development to international assistance, China has been a major force facilitating the prevention of the pandemic across the world, and this will continue against the backdrop of the darkening global economy," he told the Global Times on Saturday.

Cooperation on multiple sectors is expected to be enhanced with practical moves in areas including joint efforts in stabilizing global financial system to cooperation on vaccine development, He noted.

Aiding countries in need

Despite some criticism that the G20 group has been inadequate in responding to the worst global recession in decades, opening of the summit still attracts a lot of attention and spurs hope that economies could join together to pull the world out of coronavirus impact, both on human lives and global economy.

The summit picked COVID-19 handling as a major topic for discussion. At a pre-summit press conference, UN secretary-general António Guterres called for a massive relief package to be given to at least 10 percent of the world economy, while urging developed countries to provide enormous relief to countries in need, many of which he said is "on the precipice" of financial ruin as a result of the coronavirus disruption.

So far this year, G20 nations have already contributed more than $21 billion to combat the pandemic, as well as injected $11 trillion to support the virus-battered world economy, the summit organizers said in a report published prior to the occasion.

Amid calls for G20 nations to further strengthen debt relief for pandemic-stricken economies, G20 finance ministers also declared a common framework ahead of the summit on an extended debt restricting plan for virus-ravaged countries, promising to extend a debt suppression initiative for developing countries till the end of June next year.

Song Wei, deputy director of the Institute of International Development Cooperation at the Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation, said that the G20 summit is great significance to post-pandemic recovery as it pushes developed countries to reach consensuses amid rising unilateralism.

"In particular, some African countries are in desperate need of external support and global cooperation to help them deal with coronavirus-trigged losses, but many countries are inclined to slash financial aids amid rising protectionism. In this sense, the G20 summit is significant as it will push developed countries to reach agreement on global cooperation and support," Song told the Global Times.

The G20 summit is also a platform for countries to push concrete cooperative projects on fight COVID-19. For example, China is expected to push forward COVID-19 research by partnering with the US, UK, WTO and some non-governmental organizations during the summit, Song revealed.

"Despite the unabated trust crisis and disparities between China and the US, poverty alleviation and vaccine aid are still the areas where the two countries are mostly likely to reach a common ground, and the G20 summit is a platform to breed such potential teamwork," she said.

But He cautioned that uncertainty still remains as the world's largest economy led by Donald Trump has been sowing discord and even trying to obstruct international cooperation.

China's contribution

Experts also hailed China's contribution to the world's economic recovery as a member of the G20 group, as it was insistent in promoting multilateralism and globalization.

"In the context of anti-globalization and unilateralism, China has been sending the message of promoting the world's development as a whole in a more open and globalized direction, which makes great contribution to the world's post-pandemic recovery," Song said.

She also noted that China has functioned as a representative of developing countries in the G20 group, and has shouldered responsibility of promoting cooperative international governance on multilateral platforms.

From signing of the world's largest trade pact along with 14 other Asia-Pacific economies to expressing a positive attitude toward joining the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), China repeatedly reinforced its role as a promoter of cross-border cooperation.

He also said that due to effective COVID-19 control measures, China has been rapidly recovering from the fallout of the virus and is expected to be the only major economy realizing growth this year, which will play an important role in leading the global economy out of the pandemic crisis.

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