Chinese President calls for greater role of G20 in economic governance

(Reuters) – Chinese President Xi Jinping on Monday called on the world to strengthen macroeconomic policy coordination and strengthen the role of the G20 in global economic governance, pointing to a “rather fragile” recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.

Speaking at a virtual meeting of the World Economic Forum – a gathering typically held at a Swiss ski resort – Xi said the global economic outlook remains uncertain and public health emergencies “could very well happen again. ” in the future.

Xi, making his first appearance at the forum since his vigorous defense of free trade and globalization in a speech at Davos in 2017, this time struck a similar tone, advocating multilateralism as a way out of current challenges in a speech of about 25 minutes. . []

“We must build an open world economy … reject discriminatory and exclusive standards, rules and systems, and remove barriers to trade, investment and technology exchange,” he said.

The G20 – an international forum bringing together 19 of the largest developed and emerging economies, as well as the European Union – should be strengthened as “the main forum for global economic governance” and the world should “engage in more coordination. close macroeconomic policies, ”Xi added.

China itself would participate more actively in global economic governance, he said.

China’s GDP grew by 2.3% in 2020, according to official data released last week. It was its lowest annual growth rate in more than four decades, but it made China the only major economy to avoid a contraction last year, as many countries struggled to contain the pandemic.

International governance should be based on rules and consensus, rather than orders given by one or a few, Xi added, without naming a country.

“The world has been undergoing changes unheard of for a century, and the time has come for major development and major transformation,” he said.

Xi’s speech came just five days after Joe Biden was sworn in as US president.

Under Biden’s predecessor Donald Trump, tensions simmered between the United States and China, the world’s two largest economies, over issues ranging from trade and technology to Hong Kong, Xinjiang and the coronavirus.

Reporting by Meg Shen and Tom Daly; Editing by Toby Chopra and Alex Richardson

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