by Xinhua writer Qu Junya
BEIJING, July 1 (Xinhua) -- With its steady and strong economic growth and continued commitment to globalization, China remains a strong engine for the global economy, serving as a stabilizing factor and source of confidence in a world full of uncertainties.
Its new ideas and initiatives are also helping improve the world order amid uncertainties created by global economic sluggishness, a surge in populism and protectionism in Western countries, the Brexit process, terrorism and geopolitical black swans, among others.
BIGGEST CONTRIBUTOR AND POWERHOUSE OF WORLD ECONOMY
Maintaining a gross domestic product (GDP) increase between 6.7 percent and 7.2 percent for 11 quarters, in the first quarter of 2017, China recorded a more-than-expected 6.9 percent year-on-year rise, prompting the International Monetary Fund and other financial institutions to revise up its economic outlook.
In 2016, China's economy grew by 6.7 percent, contributing more than 30 percent to the global GDP total.
"China's growth is an incredible contribution to the global economy," said Klaus Schwab, executive chairman and founder of the World Economic Forum, in Dalian of northeast China during the Annual Meeting of the New Champions, known also as Summer Davos, since 2007.
What's more, China is making the contributions needed to put the sluggish global economy back on track, thanks to its huge domestic market, with demands boosted by reforms in an economic shift to consumption and the service industry.
"More importantly though is that it showed that rebalancing is continuing, with most of the growth coming through consumption, and that is exactly what we wanted to see," leading Australian economist James Laurenceson said, citing the "positive impact" that "more Australian goods and more Australian services go to China than any other country."
Customs statistics show a fall of 35.7 percent in China's trade surplus in the first quarter, with imports worth 423 billion U.S. dollars, or an increase of 31.1 percent from the same period last year.
"Globally, trade has been suffering and slowing down. China is the world's largest trading nation, it is the world's second-largest economy, and is growing at one of the fastest rates in the world," Laurenceson said."So whenever you have such a significant economy experiencing robust trade growth, that's excellent for the global economy too."
With expected long-term growth for a more stable and sustainable economy enabled by innovation and reforms, China will generate more opportunities for other countries and remain a top investment destination, according to Chinese Premier Li Keqiang during the 2017 Summer Davos.
IMF chief economist Maurice Obstfeld said, "With those reforms, we are confident in China maintaining stability down the road."
Notably, China's growing outward investment also serves as a driver of the world economy. From January to November in 2016 alone, investment totaled some 157.8 billion dollars, up 55.3 percent from a year earlier.
CHINESE SOLUTIONS TO PUSH GLOBALIZATION
With renewed pledges, China has reasserted its commitment to promoting free and fair multilateral trade and globalization.
At home, China will continue its opening-up. Fresh efforts to improve the business environment for foreign enterprises include increased access to the service and manufacturing sectors, relaxed restrictions on foreign ownership and policy support, according to Li.
"All companies registered in China will be eligible to enjoy the same supportive policies that China offers in accordance with WTO (World Trade Organization) rules to push forward the 'Made in China 2025' strategy and promote technological innovation," the Chinese premier told the Summer Davos held on June 27-29.
In the next five years, China will import goods worth 8 trillion dollars, he added.
Internationally, China has inspired the United Nations and countries with its wisdom and solutions which highlight common development, inclusive growth, mutual benefit and win-win cooperation, injecting new vigor into globalization.
In February, China's concept of "a human community with shared destiny" was included as a consensus in the United Nations Commission for Social Development resolution on new partnerships in Africa's development.
The China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative to seek common development and prosperity and the China-initiated Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) have both won widespread support around the world.
John Brumby, former state premier of Victoria, Australia, said, "We have seen new initiatives obviously, the Belt and Road, the AIIB, these are all instruments to drive and encourage free and global trade, and free and global investment."
In his opinion, "it is unarguable this (Belt and Road Initiative) will lead to greater economic growth," which "will lead to more jobs, more opportunities, better education outcomes, better healthcare for families, and more people lifted out of poverty."
The Belt and Road Initiative, which aims to build infrastructure and trade networks to connect countries in Asia, Africa and Europe along ancient Silk Road trade routes, has gained support from more than 100 countries and international organizations worldwide.
As an important financing instrument for Belt and Road Initiative projects, the AIIB has seen its members increase to 80 since its launch of operation in January 2016.
In addition, "the Belt and Road Initiative has great significance because it is a new approach to reach a new and open cooperation ... and everybody can participate in a win-win situation as an equal partner," Schwab said.
"We are living in an inter-connected and inter-dependent world and we need globalization because our fate is interwoven," Schwab said, adding that "we have to make globalization much more inclusive" to ensure dialogues in a multipolar world and to narrow the widening gap between rich and poor.
China has stressed inclusiveness as a priority for the Group of 20 major economies in order to boost growth in developing countries, working under such banners as "inclusive growth" and "inclusive finance" and proposing new ways of cooperation between rich and poor countries.
Former Australian Foreign Minister Bob Carr thinks that the Belt and Road Initiative can also help the world to better understand a rising China.
"The question we have all asked ourselves is what will be the character of Chinese foreign policy. And the Belt and Road Initiative answers that. It's multilateralist. It's about peaceful engagement. It's about roads and bridges," he said.
LARGER ROLE IN GLOBAL GOVERNANCE TO BENEFIT SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT
In the opinion of Selcuk Colakoglu, director of the Turkish Center for Asia Pacific Studies, "It can be clearly said that China is one of the leading countries with a positive agenda for international cooperation and globalization."
"China has increasingly played a responsible leadership role in global governance since the global financial crisis in 2008," the professor of international relations said.
As a major contributor to global growth and an important driver of globalization, China is playing an increasingly visible role in the world economy as well as in global governance.
Its new ideas and initiatives are helping improve the world economic and financial order, especially by championing a world order with more say for developing countries. Its reaffirmed commitment to the Paris Climate Agreement after the withdrawal of the United States in June 2017 is vital to shaping the world's future economic landscape.
Strong political will and ongoing reform and innovation efforts towards a green economy by the world's largest developing country and second-largest economy indicate a leading role for China in the global fight against climate change.
Focusing on sustainable development and the planet's survival, the fight against global warming means an evolution towards a low-carbon economy and lifestyles that are expected to generate more, new and better quality jobs as well as opportunities for businesses and development around the world.
Moreover, China's peaceful growth and past economic success stories, such as reducing poverty, fighting corruption and conducting reforms, demonstrate new possibilities concerning development and growth modes for countries.
Shada Islam, policy director of Friends of Europe, a Brussels-based leading think tank, said the European Union "remains very interested in China as the global partner" in promoting peace, prosperity and growth.
"I think the EU as a smart power can work very closely with China, and China with Europe, to advance multilateral trade, climate change, ideas, everything to do with counter-terrorism, piracy, all of the key global challenges," he said.
Peter J. Li, associate professor of East Asian politics, University of Houston, described China's increasingly active participation in global governance as "a commendable development."
It "also suggests that Beijing is willing to shoulder greater responsibilities," he added.