China’s continued opening-up of its economy will help it become a good role model for other countries, as globalisation is under threat from protectionist forces in other parts of the world, said Rana Mitter, director of the University of Oxford China Centre.
Mitter said China-led initiatives such as the Belt and Road Initiative and the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, as well as the country’s commitment to climate change mitigation goals, already demonstrate its global leadership.
Mitter was speaking ahead of the 19th CPC National Congress, when the Communist Party will set the country’s strategic direction and select its leaders.
He said it is important for the nation’s leadership to reaffirm at the congress commitment to “an open, global China that will commit to mutually beneficial interaction with its neighbours and the world”.
Mitter, one of Britain’s leading experts on Chinese history and current affairs, said the international community was pleased to hear President Xi Jinping’s advocacy for globalisation at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, in January.
Xi’s address at Davos came as Britain started preparations to leave the European Union and US President Donald Trump implemented protectionist measures such as pulling the United States out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
“Around the world in many places people are becoming fearful of the economic future. People are fearful that the old industries are not able to provide for them at a time when new technologies are emerging,” Mitter said.
“With China championing the Belt and Road Initiative and the AIIB, it is sending an important signal to the wider world to create a more integrated economic relationship with the wider region.”
And as a part of this leadership role, China should set a good example of free trade by further opening up its economy for international access and further integrating its financial system into the international financial system, he said. “For China to achieve some of its ambitions, such as the internationalisation of the renminbi, more transparency is needed.”