Beijing, November 21 (Xinhua): The Chinese President Xi Jinping told Session I of the 15 th., G-20 virtual summit hosted by Saudi Arabia on November 21, that rising unilateralism and protectionism are causing disruptions to global industrial and supply chains and therefore these ought to go if world economies are to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.
He suggested that the world take four steps towards this end:
(1) Build a global firewall against COVID-19.
“We must first put the disease under control at home and, on that basis, strengthen exchanges and cooperation to help countries in need. Several G20 members have made progress in vaccine R&D and production. We should speed up action and support the WHO in mobilizing and consolidating resources and distributing vaccines fairly and efficiently. China actively supports and participates in international cooperation on COVID-19 vaccines. We have joined the COVAX facility and stand ready to step up cooperation with other countries on the R&D, production and distribution of vaccines. We will honor our commitment of giving assistance and support to other developing countries, and work to make vaccines a global public good accessible and affordable to people around the world.”
(2) Maintain supply chains
While containing the virus, we need to restore the secure and smooth operation of global industrial and supply chains. We need to reduce tariffs and barriers, and explore the liberalization of trade of key medical supplies. We need to further harmonize policies and standards and establish “fast tracks” to facilitate the orderly flow of personnel. China has proposed a global mechanism on the mutual recognition of health certificates based on nucleic acid test results in the form of internationally accepted QR codes. We hope more countries will join this mechanism. We also support the G20 in carrying out institutionalized cooperation and building global cooperation networks to facilitate the flow of personnel and goods.
(3) Harness the digital economy.
COVID-19 has fueled the boom of new technologies, new business forms and new platforms such as 5G, artificial intelligence (AI) and smart cities, and accelerated the development of a contact-free economy like online shopping, online education and telemedicine. All this opens new pathways for economic growth. We ought to adapt to change and turn crisis into opportunity. We may deepen structural reform and cultivate new growth drivers through scientific and technological innovation and digital transformation. We could foster an enabling environment for the development of the digital economy, enhance data security cooperation, strengthen the digital infrastructure, and level the playing field for high-tech companies from all countries. Meanwhile, we need to address the challenges posed by the digital economy to employment, taxation and vulnerable groups, and seek to bridge the digital divide.
(4) Debt Service Suspension
We should keep our support for developing countries and help them overcome the hardships caused by the pandemic. In spite of its own difficulties, China has fully implemented the Debt Service Suspension Initiative (DSSI) and put off debt repayment totaling over US$1.3 billion. China supports the decision on DSSI extension and will continue to work with other parties for its full implementation. Meanwhile, China will increase the level of debt suspension and relief for countries facing particular difficulties and encourage its financial institutions to provide new financing support on a voluntary basis and according to market principles.
We should help women walk out of the shadow of the pandemic, address their special needs, and implement the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action. China has proposed the convening of another Global Leaders’ Meeting on Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment in 2025 to contribute to women’s development in the post-COVID era.
It is also vital that we take the challenge of food security seriously and support the UN in holding the Food Systems Summit next year. In this connection, China proposes the holding of an international conference on food loss and waste in due course, and welcomes the active participation of G20 members and relevant international organizations.
The grave challenge of COVID-19 has exposed the deficiencies of global governance. The international community has a keen interest in the post-COVID international order and global governance as well as the future role for the G20. In my view, the principle of extensive consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits should guide our way forward. We should uphold multilateralism, pursue openness and inclusiveness, promote mutually beneficial cooperation and keep pace with the times. The G20 ought to play a bigger role in this process.
Strengthen the UN-centered international system
The UN is the core institution for addressing international affairs through cooperation. All countries should firmly support the UN’s authority and standing, follow the purposes and principles of its Charter, and uphold the international order underpinned by international law. We support the UN in more effectively building global consensus, mobilizing global resources and coordinating global actions. We support a bigger role of the UN in promoting world peace and development.
Globalization must be inclusive
Second, we need to improve the governance architecture for economic globalization. We should firmly safeguard the rules-based multilateral trading system that is transparent, non-discriminatory, open and inclusive, and support the reform of the WTO to enhance its effectiveness and authority. We should promote free trade, oppose unilateralism and protectionism, uphold fair competition, and protect the development rights, interests and space of developing countries. We should continue the reform of the international financial system, conclude the IMF’s 16th General Quota Review on schedule, expand the role of the Special Drawing Rights, buttress the global financial safety net, and raise the representation and voice of developing countries. We should also address the challenges to economic globalization head-on, and make it more open, inclusive, balanced and beneficial to all.
Xi ended his presentation by quoting a Chinese poem which said: “Past a fallen ship, one thousand sail onward; for a sick tree, ten thousand thrive by spring.”
“I believe that when COVID-19 is over, our world will rise from the pandemic and emerge even stronger. In that spirit, let us join hands to deliver a better life for our people and build a community with a shared future for mankind,” the Chinese President said.