By Bukar Bolori
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has said that more than ever before the world needs global economic integration to especially ward off the threats on global economy in the last two years as a result of COVID-19 pandemic and the ongoing Ukraine crisis.
The Managing Director of IMF, Ms. Kristalina Georgieva in her remark to the China International Import Expo (CIIE) at the weekend lamented that for over two and a half years the world has faced challenges in the global supply chain due to COVID-19 and the Ukraine crisis, insisting that the world has witnessed economic downturn.
She said due to the crises, “We have witnessed acute food insecurities, inflation. Poverty in many places is on the rise, around the world. We have seen
even big economies become relatively poorer.”
She proffered that: “Integration, not fragmentation, is key to the world’s economic success. We must promote trade openness and China is leading by example in this sense.”
She advised that reforms by China should be emulated, while decrying that: “Today, trade restriction and distortion, and subsidence is on the rise,” lamenting that: “Rather than be a source of growth, trade policies have become a source of fragmentation.”
She also asked governments to bring their disputes for resolution, stressing that: “We need much stronger international cooperation, not less of it.”
On her part, the Director General of the World Trade Organisation, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala noted that China contributes 15 per cent of world’s total exports and she is the second largest importer of goods and services, while the third largest service exporter.
Okonjo-Iweala in her goodwill message to the Expo, said: “Trade must be part of the solution to solve inflation, climate change,
global economic slow, etc.”
She disclosed that reforming and revitalization of WTO is about equipping it to be able to find challenges to problems and be able to drive the solutions.
Okonjo-Iweala claimed that the future of trade is in digital solutions and services, going green and green services, and in inclusivity.
She explained that the future of trade means bringing continents together like Africa, Latin America, among others
She revealed that WTO will work with China for stronger, more responsive partnership with common objectives of making the world a better place.
In his opening speech at fifth China International Import Expo (CIIE), the Chinese President, Xi Jinping said the CIIE has become a showcase of China’s new development paradigm, a platform for high-standard opening-up, and a public good for the whole world.
He said: “Openness is a key driving force behind the progress of human civilizations and an intrinsic path toward global prosperity and development. The world today is confronted with accelerated changes unseen in a century as well as a sluggish economic recovery. We should commit ourselves to openness to meet development challenges, foster synergy for cooperation, build the momentum of innovation, and deliver benefits to all. We should steadily advance economic globalization, enhance every country’s dynamism of growth, and provide all nations with greater and fairer access to the fruits of development.”
He promised that: “China will work with all countries and all parties to share the opportunities in its vast market. We will step up efforts to cultivate a robust domestic market, upgrade trade in goods, develop new mechanisms for trade in services, and import more quality products. We will establish pilot zones for Silk Road e-commerce cooperation and build national demonstration zones for innovative development of trade in services, so as to encourage innovation in trade and promote high-quality Belt and Road cooperation.”
He added that: “China will work with all countries and all parties to share the opportunities from its institutional opening-up. We will steadily expand institutional opening-up with regard to rules, regulations, management and standards, put into full effect the new Catalogue of Encouraged Industries for Foreign Investment, and further develop the national integrated demonstration zone for greater openness in the service sector. We will implement the strategy to upgrade pilot free trade areas, accelerate the Hainan Free Trade Port development, and tap into their role as pilot platforms for comprehensive reform and opening-up.”
He further assured that: “China will work with all countries and all parties to share the opportunities from deepened international cooperation. We will engage fully and deeply in WTO reform negotiations, promote trade and investment liberalization and facilitation, and enhance international macro-economic policy coordination, with a view to jointly fostering new drivers for global growth. We will endeavor actively to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) and the Digital Economy Partnership Agreement (DEPA) to expand the globally-oriented network of high-standard free trade areas. We will firmly support other developing countries and assist them in growing faster, and promote the building of a community with a shared future for mankind.”