Business / Hangzhou G20

China can lead at G20 Hangzhou summit: US expert

By (Xinhua) Updated: 2016-08-24 11:00

NEW YORK - As the host of the September summit of the Group of 20 (G20) major economies, China has the opportunity to set the tone and agenda for the meeting and help all participants reach important consensus, a leading China expert in the United States has said.

It is "very much up to China" whether the 2016 G20 summit, scheduled for September 4-5 in the east China city of Hangzhou, can produce some really encouraging outcome, said Stephen Orlins, president of the National Committee on US-China Relations, in a recent exclusive interview with Xinhua.

"I think China is going to need to lead," said the veteran expert who has served on the current position for 11 years. "I think China in a lot of ways can lead."

Founded in 1999, the G20 has assumed increasing significance since its first summit was held in Washington D.C. in November 2008, when the world just slipped into the abyss of a global financial crisis.

As the world's second largest economy, China participated in all the 10 previous G20 summits, but is hosting the event for the first time.

"I think China being the host of the G20 is very much kind of a statement that China is now one of the most important economies in the world, and it is terrific that it is being able to do it," said Orlins.

As the world economy is still haunted by sluggish recovery, weak growth and market volatility, many are pinning hopes on the upcoming summit of the G20, which accounts for some 85 percent of gross world product, 80 percent of world trade and two-thirds of the world population.

A former banker and investor, Orlins said that he believes the world needs to seek new growth engines from innovation and clean industries, and that China as a global leader in both fields should steer the Hangzhou summit to achieve some breakthrough.

"We need to see more innovation that can be shared globally, and we need to see more movement towards industries which emit less carbon. I hope that's what comes out of the G20," he said. "With China as the host, it has the opportunity to set the tone and the agenda."

A lot of things in China's current development plan apply to other parts of the world, from Japan, the United States and Europe to Africa and Latin America, he observed.

"You look at the announcements of where China's economy wants to grow -- green growth, travel, tourism, technology and innovation, you would sit back and you say, you know, maybe we should do that worldwide," he said.

The expert went on to point out that China in recent years has proved itself to be a responsible stakeholder in the international system, citing the Beijing-proposed Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank and the Belt and Road Initiative as "perfect examples."

"China is doing the right thing, creating an infrastructure investment bank to build up these places which need economic growth ... to invest in infrastructure in places where it can raise millions of people out of poverty," he said.

As economic observers found the Group of 7 summit held late May in Japan disappointing for failing to produce any concerted moves to boost global growth, Orlins noted that the G20 summit could be an even bigger challenge for the host country.

"It is very difficult to lead multilateral discussions. Seven is tough, 20 is even tougher, because you have more diverse interests among the participants," he said.

"But China has shown itself at times to be adept at working out consensus among groups," he stressed. "So we can hope that there are things China can do, to come up with a more concrete recommendation at the end of the G20 meetings."

Having been engaged in the promotion of U.S.-China relations since the late 1970s, Orlins also expressed confidence that the G20 summit in Hangzhou could help deepen mutual understanding between the two countries and boost bilateral ties.

US President Barack Obama is expected to travel to Hangzhou for the summit, which would most likely to be his last visit to China in his eight-year tenure.

"Every time that an American president visits China, it is a benefit to US-China relations. Every time that a Chinese president and an American president meet, it is a benefit to US-China relations," said Orlins.

"So the mere fact that he (Obama) is going, even though it is a multilateral meeting, is a benefit to the relationship," he added.

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