'Only opening-up can bring about more certainties' for world, sub-forum told
Experts have called on China to stay firm to its course of promoting multilateral economic cooperation and people-to-people connectivity, saying it will enhance the openness of the world economy and help dispel uncertainties.
"Only opening-up can bring about more certainties, for each country or for the world," said Liu Shangxi, president of the Chinese Academy of Fiscal Sciences.
De-globalization moves have exposed the world to rising uncertainties and public risks, as fragmenting the intertwined global supply chain will cause "huge pains", Liu said at a sub-forum of the 85th International Forum on China Reform on Sunday.
"No single country can deal with such global public risks," Liu said. "Concerted global actions are needed."
Hu Zhengyue, vice-president of the China Public Diplomacy Association, said that only by building an open world economy can the international community overcome intensifying global downside pressure.
Therefore, as the world's second-largest economy, as well as an advocate of and contributor to global economic openness, China should continue furthering reform and opening-up, he said.
"If China stays committed to its own course (of reform and opening-up), it will be the best demonstration of how to build an open world economy," Hu said.
China has been committed to further opening up the domestic market, especially the financial sector, in recent years.
Foreign ownership caps on mutual fund managers, securities firms and futures companies were raised to 51 percent last year and will be abolished next year. The Foreign Investment Law, which aims to better protect the legitimate rights of foreign business, will take effect from Jan 1.
Hu called on the country to push regional economic cooperation, including deepening cooperation with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, especially in the areas of investment and technology.
John Farnell, a senior adviser at the EU-Asia Centre, said the top priority in economic cooperation - for China and the European Union - should be promoting multilateralism.
"Multilateralism is clearly the most efficient way of getting results to benefit the largest number of societies and people," Farnell said at the sub-forum. "Of course, it's a slow and difficult process."
The world has encountered challenges in advancing multilateralism and globalization. For example, the dispute settlement system of the World Trade Organization, a pillar of the multilateral trade system, could come to a standstill by the end of the year due to a lack of judges.
To break the globalization ice, Hu underlined the importance of strengthening people-to-people exchanges, which would provide the "basis and guidance" for economic cooperation.
Zhang Haiyan, director of the France-based NEOMA Confucius Institute for Business, said empirical research had proved the role of cultural institutions in promoting international trade and migration, and, more substantially, in boosting foreign direct investment.
Cultural institutions such as the British Council and Confucius Institutes have helped to enhance language and cultural understanding, leading to more trust and lower costs in international economic cooperation, Zhang said.
To further encourage people-to-people exchanges, Zhang suggested incorporating Confucius Institutes and European cultural institutes into the platform of the EU-China High-Level People-to-People Dialogue.