By He Mengshu, Zhou Jun, Ban Wei (BERLIN, Nov. 13, Xinhua) — China and the European Union (EU) can intensify their cooperation on issues regarding global governance within the framework of the Group of Twenty (G20), experts have said.
Leaders of the world’s 20 major economies will meet for their 10th summit Sunday and Monday in Antalya, a seaside city in southwestern Turkey.
The summit comes at a time when the world economy is facing various problems including a slowdown in growth, differentiated policies, transition and changes, and increasing uncertainty.
Meanwhile, the G20, a leading international cooperation forum representing nearly 80 percent of global trade, has entered a crucial moment for its transition from a mechanism of addressing risks to long-term economic governance.
CENTRAL FORUM ON GLOBAL GOVERNANCE
As a premier platform for global economic cooperation, the G20 was upgraded in the aftermath of the 2008 global economic crisis and remains a central forum for cooperation in the context of continuing recovery and slow growth worldwide, said Thomas Renard, a senior research fellow with the Brussels-based Egmont-Royal Institute for International Relations.
A similar view is shared by Claudia Schmucker, head of the program “Globalization and World Economy” at the German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP).
“The G20, despite all weaknesses, is the most important global governance forum for economic and financial issues,” she said.
Looking back at the development course of the G20, Schmucker noted that the group has achieved a series of positive results regarding global governance in recent years through cooperation among its members.
The results ranged from the common response to the financial crisis in 2008 and support provided by China and other emerging countries during the euro crisis, to agreements on the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) quota reform, financial market regulations and tax reforms, according to Schmucker.
“The debate on global challenges between industrialized and emerging countries, such as the EU and China, has a value in itself, because trust and understanding will be built up between sometimes very different members through the regular G20 meetings. The G20 is the only forum where this is possible,” she said.
INTENSIFIED COOPERATION AT UPCOMING SUMMIT
On the upcoming G20 summit in Antalya, Renard said the EU and China are expected to intensify cooperation on a variety of issues regarding global governance.
“Economic issues will be important, as always in G20 meetings. The EU and China have a lot to bring in debates about growth, trade and investment — separately and together,” he said.
He added that the EU and China have both developed their own “investment plans”, the so-called Juncker Plan in Europe and a number of domestic initiatives in China, in addition to the more international Belt and Road Initiative and the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB).
“Many EU countries have already joined the AIIB, whereas China has announced that it will support the ‘Juncker Plan’,” Renard said. “Overall, China and the EU are likely to continue exploring possible avenues for further cooperation on cross-investment.”
In this context, and in relation to broader discussions on the multilateral agenda, Renard thought that the EU and China may lay out their own trade objectives, which are distinct, but could lead to a bilateral agreement on investment.
As for the upcoming global climate talks in Paris, Renard said climate change will be another hot topic at the summit.
“The G20 offers an ultimate chance to polish up positions and create the political support for an ambitious climate deal. In this context, the hopes are high that China and Europeans can work together towards a good deal,” he added.
FUTURE OPPORTUNITIES FOR COOPERATION
Experts believed that there is potential in many areas for China and Europe to further strengthen coordination and cooperation on global governance in the future within the G20 framework.
Taking China and Germany as an example, Chinese Ambassador to Germany Shi Mingde pointed out that the two countries, both as G20 members, have common or similar positions on global economic governance and major international economic and financial issues, and have maintained close cooperation and coordination with each other.
“China and Germany would further strengthen coordination in macroeconomic policy within the G20 framework, and work together to construct and maintain an open world economy as well as to promote the establishment of a more equitable global economic governance system,” he said.
In the opinion of Schmucker, China and Germany could cooperate, above all, on issues such as climate change, Doha negotiations and financial market regulation.
“China is participating very actively and constructively in the negotiations of the climate change conference to be held in Paris. Climate is an issue that Germany always attaches importance to,” she said.
She expressed her belief that both sides can expand this topic after the Paris conference — also within the framework of the G20.
Another important area is the Doha Round talks of the World Trade Organization (WTO). As one of the big players in trading, China, together with Germany, can give the WTO an important boost in the next two years, said Schmucker.
“German Chancellor Angela Merkel is also very interested in the implementation and expansion of financial market regulation, particularly for shadow banks. This is also an important issue for China,” she said, adding that both sides can work together successfully in this field.
CHALLENGES FACING G20
Speaking of the challenges that the G20 is facing, Schmucker said the group has already become a community of interests, which pursues the goal of a strong, balanced and sustainable growth of the world economy.
However, “the national interests of the member states again are coming to the fore as the financial crisis abates,” she said.
Gu Xuewu, director of the Center for Global Studies at Bonn University in Germany, noted that in order to achieve better cooperation, G20 countries should overcome a “structural obstacle”.
“The main members of the G20 are divided into two groups: the BRICS and the seven industrialized countries. The two groups have different demands. It’s not difficult for them to find abstract common goals, but they are very likely to go separate ways on how to achieve the goals,” he explained.
Gu thought that building “bridges” is necessary to break through this structural contradiction, saying China and Germany have the ability to help build the bridges and should concentrate their efforts on finding the right places
“I think many challenges that the emerging countries and industrialized countries are facing are the same. One of the biggest issues is how to promote employment, especially for women. All G20 members are facing the same challenges in this regard,” he said.
In his view, China and Germany, which will hold the rotating presidency of the G20 in 2016 and 2017, respectively, have great potential for cooperation in uniting developing and industrialized countries to overcome the structural contradiction of group differentiation and to achieve a win-win situation.