China Voice: High time to reinvigorate globalization against protectionism

HANGZHOU, Sept. 2 (Xinhua) – A retreat from globalization is a clear and present danger to the world economy, and the upcoming G20 summit provides an opportunity to rally against protectionism.

With the British decision to exit the EU, the controversy surrounding Donald Trump in the upcoming U.S. presidential election, and the recent freeze of the US-EU Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, the free flow of goods, capital and people no longer appear a priority on either side of the Atlantic.

By the time of the last G20 summit in November 2015, growth in international trade had been slower than world GDP growth for three consecutive years. Foreign direct investment around the world was also weak.

This is something that deserves close attention, said Chinese President Xi Jinping at the summit, adding that if the world economy can be compared to a human body, trade and investment are like its blood; if the blood vessels are clogged, the health of the world economy is at risk.

Accordingly, Xi has made “building an open world economy and reinvigorating international trade and investment” one of four proposals to be high on the G20 agenda.

Grasping the opportunity to shoulder responsibility commensurate with its growing contribution to the world economy, China hopes to offer advice to facilitate new rules on the path to global prosperity.

The country has seen considerable benefits from globalization: opening up has been a key part of development since the late 1970s, and China’s economy has grown more than five-fold since joining the World Trade Organization in 2001.

China is also leading by example: once running big trade surpluses — and therefore open to the charge of stealing growth or jobs from other economies — the country has cut surpluses from over 10 percent of GDP to 2.7 percent last year, on par with the United States.

On the investment front, the Chinese legislature is reviewing amendments to existing laws that will considerably lower obstacles to inbound investment.

At a difficult moment in globalization when nativist populism and a sour mood has spawned outright protectionism, wiser world leaders must stop the rot and revitalize trade and investment.

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