Opinion / Op-Ed Contributors

Initiative to explore the way to common prosperity

By Zhang Weiwei,Gu Xueming and Fan Gang (China Daily) Updated: 2016-10-12 08:16

A driving force for fairer global development

The Belt and Road Initiative carries on the 1,000-year-old spirit of the ancient Silk Road, namely "openness and inclusiveness, peaceful coexistence and mutual benefit".

The original Silk Road was fundamentally a collection of trade routes. Likewise, trade and economic cooperation is a fundamental part of the Silk Road Economic Belt and 21st Century Maritime Silk Road proposed by China.

At present, the world economy is still struggling to recover and adjust after the global financial crisis. In the decades before the crisis, international trade boomed, and its growth rate remained almost twice that of the world's economic growth rate. However, since 2012, the growth rate for international trade has been slower than the world's economic growth rate for three consecutive years.

Promoting the construction of the Belt and Road Initiative is conducive to China and the other countries along the routes exploiting their comparative advantages and converting economic complementarity into a driving force for their development.

China is not seeking unilateral gains from the initiative instead it hopes to promote common prosperity.

For a long time, the multilateral economic and trade mechanism and regional economic and trade arrangements have been the two wheels driving economic globalization forward. After the international financial crisis, the multipolarity of the global economy has become more prominent, along with various risks, challenges and uncertainties.

The Belt and Road Initiative emphasizes dialogue so as to create an open, inclusive, balanced and widely-beneficial cooperation framework to drive the global governance structure in the direction of fairness and reasonableness. This is the Chinese wisdom which can help prevent the world suffering the consequences of the Thucydides trap.

Since President Xi Jinping proposed the Belt and Road Initiative in 2013, China has been actively establishing a free trade network with countries and regions along the routes. The next step in realizing the Belt and Road Initiative should be the existing regional and sub-regional cooperation mechanisms increasing their economic and trade cooperation, and the promotion of bilateral and multilateral, regional and sub-regional cooperation in an all-round way.

Gu Xueming is head of Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation, affiliated to the Ministry of Commerce.

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