Globalization is irresistible （Jiang Shixue）
For the final examination of my university class in "International Relations" not long ago, I asked the more than 200 students to cite two examples of anti-globalization. Almost all of them chose Donald Trump's victory in the U.S. presidential election and Brexit, the British bid to leave the European Union. Some concluded that these events, along with the rise of populism, nationalism and protectionism, would reverse the globalization trend.
As a matter of fact, these worrisome observations echo the opinions of many scholars, journalists and commentators, all tending to suggest globalization is doomed.
Indeed, there's much evidence that globalization faces many obstacles, given that America is a global superpower and Britain is one of the major players in the EU. However, exaggeration of the impact of the Trump victory and Brexit is far worse than understatement. That is to say, while these two "Black Swans" are likely to hinder the process of globalization, we cannot ignore other positive elements.
First of all, China has lost none of its determination to promote globalization. As the second largest economy, its confidence in globalization is important. Chinese President Xi Jinping said at the World Economic Forum in Davos at the beginning of this year, "Blaming economic globalization for the world's problems is inconsistent with reality, and it will not help solve the problems."
He also pointed out: "In the face of both opportunities and challenges, the right thing to do is to seize every opportunity, jointly meet challenges and chart a correct course for economic globalization. We should follow the general trend, proceed from our respective national conditions and embark on the right path of integrating into economic globalization at a suitable pace." These words were well received by the international community.
Second, China has made contributions to the development of globalization in words and deeds. In 2013, it announced the Belt and Road Initiative that comprises five ambitions: policy coordination, infrastructure connectivity, trade facilitation, financial cooperation and people-to-people exchanges between countries involved. This has been widely welcomed, as its inherent connectivity can greatly promote globalization.
Third, the G20, APEC and BRICS, among others, are strong supporters of globalization. Leaders from developed and emerging economies have met frequently to discuss globalization, global challenges and other important issues, and have expressed confidence in the future.
The Communiqué of the Hangzhou Summit in Sept. 2016, for instance, pledged to work to ensure that the benefits from economic growth, globalization and technological innovation are widely shared, creating more and better jobs, reducing inequalities and promoting inclusive labor force participation.
The 2016 APEC summit in Lima in Nov. 2016 acknowledged that globalization and its associated integration processes are increasingly being called into question as protectionist tendencies emerge. However, APEC is committed to maintaining its global leadership, tackle the most pressing problems, and continue to be an incubator of ideas for the future.
Although the Goa Declaration of the BRICS summit in India in Oct. 2016 did not mention globalization; however, reading between the lines, it can be inferred that the five emerging economies are keen to encourage development of globalization. "We reiterate our support for the multilateral trading system and the centrality of the WTO as the cornerstone of a rule-based, open, transparent, non-discriminatory and inclusive multilateral trading system with development at its core," said the Declaration.
Fourth, the Doha Development Round of the World Trade Organization (WTO) has achieved some progress. For instance, on Dec. 7, 2013, the Ninth Ministerial Conference of the WTO in Indonesia reached a trade agreement known as the Bali Package. It is expected to inject US$1 trillion into the world economy, giving developing countries more options in food security, and support trade and development.
Fifth, the Paris Agreement on climate change went into force on November 4, 2016. The agreement was negotiated by representatives of 195 countries at the 21st Conference of the Parties of the UNFCCC in Paris and adopted by consensus on Dec. 12, 2015. This represented the fruit of more than two decades of often tortuous international negotiations on combating climate change. On Oct. 5, 2016, the threshold for the agreement to go into force was achieved.
Finally, we cannot ignore the following positive facts: international investment by the multinational companies and banks in developed and emerging economies is still on the rise; the global trade in goods and services continues to grow despite some protectionism; global value chains have become stronger, linking all economies into a flat world; global travel has become freer and information transmission has flourished despite cyber-insecurity and some controls.
Hence, we cannot cherry-pick the Trump victory and Brexit as the proof of de-globalization. It is true that anti-globalization forces are on the rise, but the overall trend seems irreversible. We should see opportunities in the challenges, not the other way round.
（Contant Jiang Shixue：email@example.com）