Business / Economy

Thinking outside the box for future growth

By Hao Nan (China Daily) Updated: 2016-07-29 10:58

Thinking outside the box for future growth

Cai Fang, vice-president of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.[Photo provided to China Daily]

Vice-President spells out his vision for global governance and the role of Chinese think tanks

Editor's note: During the T20 Summit in Beijing, Cai Fang, vice-president of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, shared his expectations for both the T20 and G20 summits and discussed the future of Chinese think tanks with China Daily reporter Hao Nan.

What do you think of the "4I" theme of the upcoming G20 Summit in Hangzhou this September and what are your expectations for the event?

"4I" refers to innovative, invigorated, interconnected and inclusive, which are the key words of the theme of the G20 Leaders' Summit. It reflects China's views on global governance that are based on both the present and the long term.

"4I" focuses on addressing the challenges facing the world economy, through which China hopes to help the world economy achieve inclusive and sustainable development.

"Innovative" means to seek a new growth engine for the world economy via technological progress and systematic innovation; "invigorated" means to enhance global economic vitality and improve national capacities to manage risks through reform of the global governance system; "interconnected" aims to promote coordinated growth of the world economy through international trade and investment; and "inclusive" aims to ensure that the benefits of global economic development are fairly shared among all countries and all peoples around the world.

Thinking outside the box for future growth

Chinese and foreign experts and scholars exchange opinions at a think tank forum. [Photo provided to China Daily]

China hopes that "4I" can shift the G20 from a short-term crisis response mechanism to one that pursues a long-term agenda, in a bid to resolve the long-term risks and challenges the world economy faces.

Through the efforts of China and other members, a series of achievements have been generated at this year's G20 series events. I believe more agreements in more fields will be reached at the upcoming G20 Leaders' Summit. I hope these agreements can be effectively implemented and promote the development of the world economy.

What are your expectations for the ongoing T20 Summit in Beijing?

The T20 Summit is the most important of this year's T20 series activities. Its themes are highly consistent with that of the upcoming G20 Leaders' Summit, revolving around which, I believe, global think tanks and high-level experts will provide analytical depth to the G20 discussions.

I hope the following issues can be fully discussed during the T20: the main challenges the world economy is currently facing, their possible trends and their impacts on the world economy; practical policies and suggestions to tackle the current risks and challenges facing the world economy; proposals and ideas on the future development of the G20, such as promoting cooperation between members and non-members of the G20; and improving the G20's effectiveness and legitimacy.

Thinking outside the box for future growth

Experts from the Institute of World Economics and Politics visit Peru for an academic forum, part of this year's T20 events. [Photo provided to China Daily]

China is currently exploring new innovation driven development approaches. What do you think of China's innovation capacity? How do you think the country can improve its innovation capability?

Efforts should be made in three aspects to enhance innovation capability.

The first is to increase the stock of knowledge, including knowledge production and diffusion. The second would be to add innovation inputs, including investment of capital, human resources and intelligence. The third is to create innovation incentives, such as intellectual property rights protection and a financial system that supports innovation.

China is making rapid progress in developing its innovation capacity. To give you some examples of this, China ranked third in the world last year in the number of patent applications. The proportion of investment in research and development in its GDP has also risen in recent years. Last year, China became the second-largest country in terms of R&D expenditure, with its R&D spending accounting for 2.1 percent of the nation's GDP. In 2020, the figure is expected to increase to 2.5 percent.

In addition, China is constantly improving its IPR protection and establishing a "mass innovation and entrepreneurship" social environment.

Thinking outside the box for future growth

Exchanges between Chinese and overseas think tanks under the umbrella contribute to G20 policy-making. [Photo provided to China Daily]

How do you comment on "T20 Policy Recommendations to the G20" that was drafted by three Chinese think tanks, including the Institute of World Economics and Politics at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences?

It is of significance as it will help the G20 deliver concrete and sustainable policy measures. The report comprehensively assessed the global economy's current situation and identified its main problems, such as the sluggish rising of the total factor productivity and increased risks of financial markets.

It also provided 22 specific suggestions on how to enhance global economic growth potential, improve global financial governance, promote global trade and investment cooperation and boost inclusive and sustainable development. Some of those suggestions are consistent with the results China wants to achieve at the upcoming G20 summit, while some will require greater efforts from G20 members before they can be effectively acted upon.

A distinguishing feature of the report is that on the basis of consensus, it retains the different opinions and suggestions of experts on specific issues, which will enable the G20 to better understand the current trends of research by think tank scholars and provide a wider range of reference points for policymakers.

Thinking outside the box for future growth

Exchanges between Chinese and overseas think tanks under the umbrella contribute to G20 policy-making. [Photo provided to China Daily]

What role do you think the think tank should play in China's ecosocial development? What are the priorities in the construction of think tanks?

Think tanks are important to a nation's governance capacity. They provide both theoretical research and decision-making consultation, which can complement each other.

The general of ces of the Communist Party of China's Central Committee and the State Council jointly issued an opinion on strengthening the construction of think tanks with Chinese characteristics in January 2015, an indication that the Chinese government attaches great importance to the role and development of think tanks.

In the future, the construction of Chinese think tanks needs to focus on solving the outstanding problems that China is facing; to strengthen international cooperation and have global perspectives; and to establish an effective management system and an operational mechanism in a bid to promote the transformation of think tanks' research outcomes.

Thinking outside the box for future growth

The Chinese Academy of Social Sciences is a leading think tank in China and its Institute of World Economics and Politics plays co-host to the T20 Summit in Beijing from Friday to Saturday. [Photo provided to China Daily]

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