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Strengthen Partnership for a Better Future

2016/01/15

Remarks by H.E. Yang Jiechi

State Councilor of the People's Republic of China

At the Opening Ceremony of 2016 First G20 Sherpa Meeting

Beijing, 14 January 2016

Distinguished G20 Sherpas,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

Good morning.

I wish to welcome you all to the first Sherpa meeting for the G20 Hangzhou Summit at the beginning of the new year. I am sure that your wisdom, passion and ideas, through communication, will set a sound foundation for the Hangzhou Summit.

Being here today reminds me of the inaugural G20 Summit I attended in November 2008, for which I still cherish a clear memory.

It was a time when the international financial crisis was at its worst and many people were drawing an analogy with the Great Depression of the last century. When there seemed to be little hope around, the G20 came to the fore and its leaders agreed to work together to tackle the crisis and promote growth. That agreement greatly boosted the confidence of the international community and steered the world economy away from a free fall and towards stability and recovery. It was viewed by some as a pioneering endeavor in the age of globalization where united efforts for win-win outcomes prevailed over division caused by selfish interest. The G20 has since left a mark on people's memory and become a premier forum for international economic cooperation. The past eight years of the G20 have yielded bountiful fruits of cooperation and offered much experience to take stock of.

First, it is important to uphold the spirit of partnership at times of difficulty. When crisis hits, what is more frightening is not the shortage of liquidity, but the shortage of confidence. The G20 played an important role in world economic recovery by taking concerted actions and sending a clear message of unity. It stood firm against the "beggar thy neighbor" approach of protectionism and worked to build an open world economy. And it played a leading role in the widely acclaimed global actions against climate change and Ebola. This proud collective memory of ours of the G20 shall continue to be a source of inspiration for us as we go forward.

Second, it is important to stay focused on the core mission of growth. Be it the short-term policies to generate demand and stabilize the market during the crisis or the structural reforms after the crisis to achieve mid- to long-term growth, the G20 has always worked to build up consensus and carry out cooperation with the core mission of growth in mind. The framework for strong, sustainable and balanced global growth established in Pittsburgh, the comprehensive growth strategies formulated in Brisbane and the country specific investment strategies laid down in Antalya are all testament to the G20's firm commitment to growth.

Third, it is important to chart the course of international economic cooperation. As the saying goes, people with petty shrewdness attend to trivial matters while those with greater wisdom attend to institutions of governance. In light of the changing international economic landscape, the G20 has endeavored to advance reform of the international financial and monetary systems by increasing the voices and representation of emerging markets and developing countries. New mechanisms such as the Financial Stability Board and the Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes have been put together to make relevant cooperation more rules-based. The energy cooperation principles have served as a useful experiment to enhance global energy governance. The G20 also lent political impetus to the conclusion of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Paris agreement on climate change, two latest milestones in the course of global development cooperation.

Fourth, it is important to be action-oriented and deliver results. The G20 has refused to be a talking shop. Instead, it has not only talked the talk, but also walked the walk. It has pushed for the completion of the last round of the World Bank and IMF voting power reform. A series of rules and standards have been established and implemented at the global level to tackle thorny issues ranging from "too-big-to-fail" banks to "tax havens". And more than 1,000 policy commitments have been submitted by countries as part of the comprehensive growth strategies to achieve the goal of lifting the G20's GDP by an additional 2% by 2018.

These approaches and principles, which are indeed the most important about G20 cooperation since the global financial crisis broke out, should be all the more cherished. For the G20 to go thus far, it has largely acted by these approaches and principles. And these need to be carried forward to ensure continued success and bring in even brighter prospects for G20 cooperation.

Dear Colleagues,

We live in a time of rapid and dramatic change, a time when opportunities and challenges are both unprecedented.

Looking ahead, the world economy stands at the dawn of a new round of scientific and technological revolution; new growth momentum is building up at a faster pace; and new technological breakthroughs are in the pipeline. There is a lot to look forward to.

Yet for now, the world economy is still beset by a lack of momentum and demand. A number of factors are at play here, such as divergent monetary policies of major economies, falling commodity prices, and structural adjustments of different economies. With economic factors intertwined with geopolitics, global economy may be trapped in a state of sluggish growth for a long time. The possibility of greater volatility in the international market or even another crisis cannot be completely ruled out, and there remains considerable challenges for us to face.

The G20 has committed itself to promoting strong, sustainable and balanced growth of the world economy. This is a work in progress. How to meet the challenges confronting the world economy? How to foster and seize new opportunities that have started to emerge? This is a subject of extensive interest. In the new situation, while staying true to its core mission, the G20 needs to adapt itself to the changing circumstances so as to point the way forward for the world economy.

The Hangzhou Summit, whose theme is "towards an innovative, invigorated, interconnected and inclusive world economy", will focus on tackling the greater and most outstanding challenges of the world economy in a bid to add new and fundamental drivers to strong, sustainable and balanced global growth.

Specifically, we have four priorities: First, efforts should be made to innovate growth models mainly through reform and innovation to create and seize new opportunities and foster medium-to-long term growth potential in the world economy. Second, global economic and financial governance should be improved to increase the representation and voice of emerging markets and developing countries and make the world economy more risk-resilient. Third, international trade and investment should be promoted in order to build an open world economy and reinvigorate global growth. Fourth, inclusive and interconnected development should be enhanced with efforts being made to implement the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and strengthen the momentum of world economic growth. China hopes that through the efforts to be made in the course of this year, the G20 could achieve the following objectives:

- To play a leading role, demonstrate ambition and chart the course for world economic growth and international economic cooperation. In the face of challenges and opportunities in the world economy, we need to stand high and look far while focusing on the fundamentals of the economy. One pressing task for the moment is to strengthen macro-policy coordination, promote stable growth, prevent or reduce negative spillovers of a country's domestic policy measures, and contribute more positive energy to world economy and common development. In the long run, deep-seated problems in the world economy must be addressed in order to release new, greater impetus for growth. This is the mission and responsibility that we must undertake. For problems that cannot be resolved for the time being, we need to start a meaningful and sustainable process with a sense of historical responsibility and a strategic vision. We need to work together for consensus, seek win-win results through cooperation, lead the way towards development and sow the seeds for the future.

-To innovate institutional building and create cooperation platforms to shift the G20 from a mechanism of crisis response to one of long-term governance. As a premier forum for global economic cooperation, the G20's smooth transformation and its ability to properly address new challenges in the world economy bear on not only the development of all its members but also the immediate interests of all countries in the world. The world keeps evolving. Those who choose to adapt to changes and advance with the times will survive and thrive. Therefore, the agenda of the G20, as well as its mechanisms and ways of cooperation, should always stay relevant in an ever-changing world.

- To set rules and goals and ensure their implementation to provide yardstick by which to evaluate relevant cooperation. Delivery on one promise is better than the pledge of one thousand promises. Once we have set the goals for the G20, the key to ensure successful implementation is to follow up with solid and concrete actions. Rules and goals can identify the way forward, thus providing a model and impetus for cooperation and development in relevant areas. More importantly, they can serve as a benchmark against which we could track progress and spot deficiencies. Most G20 members are pacesetters in global economic development and are thus well placed to play an important role in this regard.

As the host country, China will work with all parties for positive outcomes of the G20 Hangzhou Summit to benefit the whole world and future generations. This is what we need in order to drive global growth. This is also what the international community expects from us. During its G20 Presidency, China will act according to the principles of openness, transparency, democracy and inclusiveness, maintain close communication and coordination with other G20 members and stakeholders, and listen to all parties for their opinions and suggestions to make the G20 more responsive to the aspirations of the people of all countries.

Dear Colleagues,

After decades of rapid development, China is now an integral part of the world economy, contributing to and benefiting from global prosperity. China's economy has entered a state of "new normal" featuring a moderated growth rate on the one hand, and strong potential, great resilience and tremendous space for maneuver on the other. What matters most for growth in China at the moment and for some time to come is to understand, adapt to and get on top of the new normal. China's economy will move towards a sustained and stable growth. This is the general trend that will stay unchanged.

We will pursue innovative, coordinated, green, open and shared development, drive the economy through reform and innovation, press ahead with structural reform, implement the innovation-driven strategy and pay more attention to the quality and efficiency of development in order to keep the Chinese economy operating within a reasonable range and achieve sound and sustained growth. This is the tone we have set for China's economic growth. It is also in keeping with the trend of the broader global economy. The Chinese economy growing at a medium-high rate will remain a powerful engine to boost the strong, sustainable and balanced growth of the world economy.

At the same time, China will open wider and at a higher level both domestically and to the outside world. China will actively participate in international economic cooperation and global economic governance, in order to facilitate its endeavor at home to deepen reforms in all respects and maintain a medium-high growth rate. China will continue to open to the world and work for mutually beneficial cooperation and common development. In this connection, hosting the G20 summit has given China an important opportunity to put this vision into practice.

As an ancient Chinese saying goes, "Without strong determination, nothing can be accomplished." This Sherpa meeting marks the starting point of the preparations for the Hangzhou Summit. It is also an occasion for us to set the goals and chart the course for the upcoming Summit. I hope our Sherpas will, with ambition and determination, engage in in-depth discussions on the agenda items of the meeting and share your insights with each other. In this way, you will lay a solid foundation for the G20's agenda in 2016 and enable the G20 to play a greater role in boosting world economic growth, improving global economic governance and making life better for the people of all countries.

Thank you very much.

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