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Tuesday, November 6, 2018

CEIBS Contributes to Inaugural China International Import Expo

Shanghai. November 6, 2018 – Members of CEIBS’ leadership team and faculty were among thought leaders from the global economy who gathered, during the inaugural China International Import Expo, to discuss China’s Role and Influence in Rebalancing the World Economy. Highlighting CEIBS’ increasing influence in contributing to and shaping China’s economic affairs, presenters during sessions on November 5 & 6 included CEIBS President Li Mingjun, Distinguished Professor and former Prime Minister of France Jean-Pierre Raffarin, along with Professors of Economics Xu Bin and Bala Ramasamy. The roughly 240-member CEIBS contingent at the expo, a major event organised by the Chinese government to show the rest of the world that China is committed to opening up, included President (European) Dipak Jain, Assistant President Yvonne Li, Deputy Director of Alumni Relations Office Tanya Fu and other staff, as well as students and alumni.

As he began his keynote speech on November 6, CEIBS Distinguished Professor Jean-Pierre Raffarin stressed CEIBS’ importance to the Sino-European relationship. “I am very happy to be with you today because I love the China Europe International Business School. This beautiful school has built a bridge between China and Europe!” he declared, pointing to the school’s logo on the event backdrop. CEIBS was jointly established by the Chinese government and the European Union almost 25 years ago, and fostering ties between both sides is in the school’s DNA. This year, in recognition of the China-EU Comprehensive Strategic Partnership, CEIBS has had a special focus on fulfilling its role as a platform to further enhance China-EU communication and cooperation, both in business and culture, along with providing a window of China's reform and opening up in the education sector. The CIIE was another opportunity for CEIBS to engage in and contribute to meaningful discussions on China’s relationship with not only Europe but also the rest of the world.

For example, during his address CEIBS Distinguished Professor Raffarin spoke of the importance of China’s role in rebalancing the global economy in an increasingly complicated and uncertain environment. He pointed to the changes seen in China over the years, saying what was once a “closed country” is now “opening up”. Referencing the work China has done with France on climate change, he told his audience that addressing environmental issues is also part of the wider rebalancing of the global economy. Turning to the long-running debate on unilateralism versus multilateralism, Raffarin stressed that the former is not Europe’s goal. Citing, as an example, calls – from some quarters – for reforming the World Trade Organisation, he maintained that a common vision, not a unilateral approach is needed. “We should make the principle of peace the overall goal, easing tensions rather than provoking,” he urged.

As Europe itself grapples with changes to the power structure within its region, there is a recognition of the increasing importance of the East, he said, adding that the China-led Belt and Road Initiative provides an opportunity for collaboration. “If we are to prioritise peace and development, we should sit down and discuss the issue of the ‘Belt and Road’. We can pursue our common interests in this direction. The rebalancing of the world economy is indeed a very important issue,” said Raffarin. “In the next two decades, we need this rebalancing of the East and the West. Of course, we can't give up the United States. We also need to build stronger cooperation with the East. The world is moving forward, the world is changing, France is a part of Europe, but our future should also face the East, and strive to promote our rebalancing.” He was speaking during the first half of the programme that explored ‘Trends and Challenges in Rebalancing the World Economy’. Dr. Liam Fox, UK Secretary of State for International Trade was the session’s first keynote speaker.

Meanwhile, during a November 5 closed-door forum co-hosted by CEIBS, Shanghai Institute of International Studies and China Research Institute of Fudan University, CEIBS President Li Mingjun made the point that the process of globalisation has revealed new challenges in the distribution of dividends, governance of capital flows and regional integration. “The rules-based trading system has been challenged. The world economy is seriously unbalanced. New economic development requires finding new ways and means to solve the problems,” he said. He further argued that US President Donald Trump's policies since coming to power had effectively declared the end of an era with a new era and governance structure in the process of being conceived and shaped. Discussions such as those being engaged in at the event, he noted, were all the more significant at this moment in time.

The November 5 forum focused on “Challenges and Responses to Global Trade Governance”. Professor Xu Bin, who is also CEIBS Associate Dean and Wu Jinglian Chair Professor of Economics, was among the panellists. Warning that the anti-globalisation trend from some quarters and the trade conflict between China and the US will not be a short term phenomenon, Prof. Xu stressed the need for China to focus on long-term economic development, not merely trade issues. In terms of managing the Chinese economy, he proposed more focus on “establishing a sound legal and economic framework for companies to operate within a regulated but relaxed environment, rather than having direct intervention into companies’ operations”. Turning his attention to how China engages with the rest of the world, Prof. Xu spoke of the importance of putting values ahead of financial considerations. “We are now the number two economy in the world so it’s inevitable that China will have global strategies such as the BRI. But we should, on the Chinese side, put our values ahead of money. Meaning we should help other countries with their infrastructure needs, promote the development of the whole world, treat other countries equally, and so on. Values should be emphasised more than just projects,” he said.

Prof. Bala Ramasamy was among participants during the second half of the November 6 event, weighing in on a discussion about “China and the Construction of an Open World Economy”. He shared his views on key topics such as how to address protectionism, WTO reform, and China’s new round of opening-up. He advocated international rules for countries to observe so as to promote fair international trade. He also stressed that China’s Belt and Road Initiative and reform of state-owned enterprises can provide guidelines for developing countries.

Charmaine N. Clarke