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China: forty years on and a new chapter opens…

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By dxw

From Iain Ferguson in Beijing

As Ambassador Sebastian Wood recalled, opening the first Wilton Park conference to be run in China, it was on this very day, in 1972 that Britain established full diplomatic relations, at Ambassadorial level, with the People’s Republic of China.

“Our relationship is better, stronger and bigger than ever before in the history of our two countries, said Li Jingtian, Executive Vice President of the Central Party School of the Communist Party of China – Wilton Park’s partner for the seminar. “We have potential to see very dramatic acceleration related to the subject of this conference; the measures we need to take to ensure prosperity.”

Wilton Park and the Party School gathered top experts in economic development to discuss how economies can be rebalanced to achieve sustainable growth, promote world trade, reduce protectionism and achieve effective economic governance through the G20 and other organisations.

For all the non-Chinese participants, savouring their first visit to the Party School campus, there was a real thrill in debating these issues in the intellectual power house where China’s elite leadership is trained.

The discussion centred around three key issues:

  • The first, to explore the different ways the Chinese economy is seen from within and without; the rest of the world ranks China as the second biggest economy in the world, while China sees itself as the 93rd based on GDP per capita.
  •  The second, to discuss Chinese expectations of global institutions like the WTO and G20 compared to those of the West.
  • And the third, to explore China’s response to Western calls for it to take a more forthright leadership role in breaking the stalemate on world trade talks and enabling the Rmb to become a world reserve currency.

“The world needs China to become a leader; if China doesn’t rise to the challenge no-one else can take on this role.” said Gerard Lyons, Chief Economist at Standard Chartered Bank.

Lou Jiwei, President of the China Investment Corporation, explained China’s position: “The West see China as part of the world imbalance but the West does not see the fundamental imbalance within China and we have to deal with that first before we can play a bigger role in tackling the global imbalance.”

Speaking in the run-up to this autumn’s 18th Party conference that will decide China’s leadership for the next decade, Lou Jiwei set out three key priorities for economic development:

1.         Managing urbanisation successfully

2.         Creating the right conditions to foster innovation

3.         Overhauling the regulatory framework to match current needs.

There was unanimous agreement that the conference had helped move this agenda forward and set very high standards for future events in the series.

“It was an absolutely exceptional intellectual exchange” said Philippe Legrain, chief economic adviser to the President of the European Commission.

“UK-China co-operation has moved from dialogue to generating mechanisms (to facilitate trade) and now we need to move from mechanisms to creating the right institutions for effective global economic governance,” said Liam Byrne MP, Shadow Secretary of State for Work and Pensions.

And as I closed the conference, trying to capture the tone of the meeting, I said:

“We have a lot to gain by talking to each other, by working together and by tackling the world’s difficult problems together. We have much to look forward to as we develop the next conference working closely with our partners in the Central Party School.”

 

Comments

Ingo-Steven Wais says

Dear Lian + Wilton's Park Team,it 's already 40 years ago?Well,another proof that time is running.So I do full agree to the above mentioned 3 topics-but wanna add a #4, if possible:Cause of the "1 Child-Policiy" in China from 1966 till 2001is the Chinese society becoming older and older.So a 1st. real good progress.But on the other hand:The younger ones are becoming within the next 10 yrs. much too less. They can't take care in re.of the older ones as they still do today.So I wanna add #4:Pls.do overhauling the complete old-age pension system and do full support a "2 Child-Policy".Maybe it 's only a quite naive suggestion-but at least 1 into the right direction.BW, Ingo-Steven Wais, Stuttgart/Cardiff.

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Ingo-Steven Wais says

Dear Lian and Wilton Park Team,it took a little bit of time, sorry,but I wanted to be 100% sure before writing this additional remark to yr. report.You 've mentioned in re. of the 3
"Key-Issues" amongst topic #1 about the "different ways of the Chinese economy".So pls. allow me to add that in 1972 one special or different way was, cause former CAAC,Civil Aviation Administration China,urgently needed a modern, reliable and short to medium range jet airliner, to buy " British.Soviet civil jets doesn 't fulfill
the basic-conditions at all.In 1972 'till 2012-just take notice of the fatal crash of this Russian Suchoi Superjet 100 last month in Indonesia(during a PR-Flight!).On the other side and cause of this special/different kind of Chinese economic policy they don't want to buy US-American products (DC-9/51) for political reasons.Neither French (Dessault Bregeut "Mercure") or a German -Jet (VFW 614) also.So, topic #2, British and Chinese managers started to "discuss -about- Chinese expectations".At the end former CAAC ordered 30 Hawker Siddeley HS 121 "Tridents 3B" plus 3 so-called "Super Trident 3" for their V.I.P. Transport-Squadron.
That 's why I do full agree to you Lian, that "UK-China co-operation has moved from dialogue to...facilitate".You could also say in a philosophic way,that a British special aircraft design made the 1st.steps and the 1st flights towards to China.BW, Ingo-Steven Wais,Stuttgart

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Ingo-Steven Wais says

Dear Lian and Wilton Park Team, pls. let me add some lines in re. of yr.report.As already mentioned this Russian Superjet 100 is nothing but a desperate attempt (of Russia) to get through or join the "Club" of aircraft manufacturers again.The result is now well-known .They just want to develop and built their Suchoi - Jet alone.China itself has similar wishes in re. of building aircrafts.Their project is called CATIC 75.And this leads us directly to yr. report, last chapter."...by talking to each other, by working together...".For this project is an outstanding example in re. of UK-Chinese co-operation.British Engineers of Rolls Royce Aero Engines are developing the engines, a special version out of the "Trent"-Family.The Chinese are working /building the wings and the air-frame..To me are these facts the best proof that Mr.Li Jingtian´s words "...Our relationship is better, stronger and bigger than ever before..." are really true. BW, Ingo-Steven Wais, Stuttgart, Anglo-German.

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