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Global experts praise Beijing's firm backing of multilateralism

By MAY ZHOU in Brasilia, Brazil and HONG XIAO in New York | China Daily | Updated: 2019-11-16 09:36
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President Xi Jinping speaks during the BRICS leaders' dialogue with the BRICS Business Council and the New Development Bank in Brasilia, Brazil, Nov 14, 2019. [Photo/Xinhua]

China's strong support for multilateralism and its great contributions to the development of the BRICS mechanism have been hailed by global experts.

In a speech at the closing ceremony of the BRICS business forum in Brasilia, President Xi Jinping on Wednesday called for active participation by businesses in BRICS cooperation to promote economic growth and job creation amid a global economic slowdown, which is arising from growing protectionism.

He said the new round of the technological and industrial revolution is driving socioeconomic development amid mounting protectionism and economic tensions, which are eroding global trade and investment and weighing down the world economy.

Evandro Carvalho, head of the Center for Brazil-China Studies at Fundacao Getulio Vargas School of Law in Rio de Janeiro, said Xi's speech reaffirmed China's commitment to defending the multilateral trading system and deepening China's economic openness to the world.

"Today China has taken a leading role in defending multilateralism and opening up international trade-in contrast to US protectionist and unilateralist policies," he said regarding policy moves of the United States.

Carvalho said that one of the biggest challenges for the BRICS is to improve intra-BRICS trade, adding that the business sector can further enhance exchanges between peoples and the deepening of cooperation ties between the five countries.

Larissa Wachholz, a partner at Vallya Investment Advisory in Brasilia, said Xi's speech focused on a key aspect for BRICS countries and emerging economies as a whole: the need to create a better business environment.

BRICS countries have important challenges ahead, mostly related to overcoming poverty or the middle-income trap. There is no solution to these challenges aside from a thriving and sustainable economy, she said.

"Being open to international trade and able to attract foreign direct investment to key areas, such as infrastructure and innovative sectors, are of utmost importance," Wachholz said.

Salvatore Babones, associate professor in the Department of Sociology and Social Policy at the University of Sydney in Australia, said multilateralism has always been a key tenet of Chinese foreign policy, which is why Xi has called for multilateralism as an alternative to protectionism.

"It is significant that Xi made this call (to promote multilateralism) in front of the BRICS community," he said.

Christopher H. Bovis, professor of international business law at the University of Hull in England, said protectionism in international trade is a shortsighted reaction with adverse effects in the long-run. He added that BRICS can help make the global economy more open and inclusive.

China is upgrading its economy into one driven by innovation and efficiency, which offers "critical insights to developing countries", Bovis said.

Prime Sarmiento in Hong Kong and Han Baoyi in London contributed to this story.



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