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Roundtable discusses world economic recovery

Updated: Nov 25,2020 10:05 PM

Premier Li Keqiang, joined by heads of the World Bank, International Monetary Fund, World Trade Organization and three other major international economic institutions, met the press via video link on the night of Nov 24, which was postponed for half an hour after they attended a longer-than-scheduled "1+6" roundtable meeting.

Premier Li began the opening remarks by telling the press: "I apologize for having postponed this press conference. However, the delay was not out of diverged discussions. It is because we have had a great discussion with so many points of consensus."

Development conducive to world peace

Premier Li said they exchanged views on the outlook for world economic recovery at the just-concluded roundtable.

"Whether being cautious or optimistic, they all expected the world economy to develop and recover," the Premier said. "Development is a common concern, and focusing on it will be conducive to world peace."

Although the world economic recovery has been ongoing, great uncertainties still exist, the Premier said, adding he hopes the world economy will rise up next year and steadily recover as soon as possible after the severe recession this year.

"For post-epidemic recovery, countries need to strengthen cooperation, work together to overcome difficulties and jointly maintain the environment for economic development, peace, trade and investment."

International Monetary Fund Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva agreed with the remarks, saying the current global crisis requires strong policy support and cooperation to meet the challenges.

"We have no choice but to work together to resolve the crisis as soon as possible," Georgieva said. "China’s rapid economic recovery is a result of strong anti-epidemic measures and pro-growth policies. China will achieve high-quality growth, which is good for itself and the world."

Free trade a 'good remedy'

"We believe multilateralism, free trade, liberalization and facilitation of trade and investment will strongly boost the world economy to walk away from the downturn and embrace the recovery," Premier Li said.

The Premier pointed out the irreversible trend of economic globalization, opening-up and cooperation, calling on efforts from all to promote multilateralism, free trade and improve international economic governance. With the signing of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, China will work with others to build an open world economy.

"We agreed to uphold multilateralism, the authority and effectiveness of the multilateral trading system and maintain the stability of the global industrial and supply chains," Premier Li said. "To promote economic recovery after the epidemic, free trade is a 'good remedy'."

World Trade Organization Deputy Director-General Alan Wolff also agreed with Premier Li on trade’s contribution to peace and the importance of the multilateral trading system.

"We built the multilateral trading system just to maintain peace. We need to increase economic activities and trade to promote peace and well-being for all. We can also promote global economic recovery through trade," Wolff said.

International Labor Organization Director-General Guy Ryder said the roundtable has been held in special circumstances. "Today's discussion has shown our strong support for multilateralism, reinforced our consensus on how to respond to the epidemic and restore our economies," Ryder said.

'China still a developing country'

In a response to World Trade Organization Deputy Director-General Alan Wolff, who said China is the largest commodity trade export country in the world, Premier Li said China is still under a trade deficit in the service trade, and the large amount of commodity export comes from importing components from other countries before conducting processing and assembling in China, and then exporting them into other countries.

"That is why I stressed China is still a developing country," the Premier said.
In the following press conference, Wolff said China is the largest commodity trade country, and also a developing country, "as Premier Li stressed many times".

During the communication with Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development Secretary-General Angel Gurria, Premier Li said China is not a member country of the OECD, as it is still a developing country, but they are partners, and China is willing to expand bilateral cooperation with OECD.

He also invited the six leaders to give suggestions for China’s 14th Five-Year Plan. According to Premier Li, China is the largest developing country in the world, and development is still fundamental to all. Some of the leaders also clarified the fact China is still a developing country.

Vaccines should be public goods

Coping with COVID-19 was also among the key topics at the roundtable, and it was agreed that unity was needed in dealing with the challenge facing the entire human race.

According to Premier Li, China is making its own efforts in vaccine R&D. "Vaccines should be global public goods, with accessibility and affordability taken into account," he said, adding the Chinese side is ready to cooperate with related international institutions to triumph over the disease before embracing a stronger economic recovery.

Noting the post-epidemic era, the Premier said China is willing to strengthen cooperation with major international institutions on a larger scale and at a deeper level.

Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development Secretary-General Angel Gurria said the roundtable meeting was held during an unprecedented economic, social and health crisis, and all parties should help each other to survive.

"We are in the middle of a harsh ‘storm’,” he said. “Only by staying the same boat can we reach the opposite bank."