The Guardian • Issue #2067

China’s good momentum

Traditional and modern China.

Photo: Sharon Drummond – (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0).

The good momentum of China’s economic development is conducive to the economy of Australia and the world.

Achieving modernisation is a dream that the Chinese people have striven to fulfil. The 20th CPC National Congress held last October drew up the blueprint for China’s future development and laid out the task of advancing the rejuvenation of the Chinese nation on all fronts through a Chinese path to modernisation. With over 1.4 billion people on course toward modernisation, a number larger than the combined population of all developed countries, China will give a remarkably strong impetus for the global economy.

In the past ten years, the Chinese economy grew at 6.2 per cent on average annually and its share in global economic output increased from 11.3 per cent in 2012 to over 18 per cent. In the past three years under COVID-19, China achieved an average annual growth of 4.5 per cent, about 2.5 percentage points higher than the world average. China’s trade in goods ranked the top in the world for six years in a row. On average, China’s contribution to global growth was over 30 per cent, ranking first across the world and more than all the G7 countries combined.

China has the world’s largest manufacturing system with the most complete industrial chain and supporting facilities, as well as strong technological innovation and industrial production capabilities. China’s industrialisation and urbanisation is at the stage of in-depth development, and its middle income population is expected to go beyond 800 million in the coming 15 years. Chinese domestic market has tremendous space and potential, which will provide Australia and other countries with huge opportunities.

China’s development and modernisation is aimed at bringing common prosperity to the world. The Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and the Global Development Initiative (GDI) are significant public goods China provides to the international community. Ten years on since its commencement, the BRI has formed more than 3000 cooperation projects, created 420,000 jobs for countries along the route, and lifted nearly 40 million people out of poverty.

Put forward in 2021 by President Xi Jinping, the GDI calls on the international community to prioritise development, pay attention to the special situations of developing countries, and pool efforts to accelerate the implementation of the 2030 Agenda. By now, over 100 countries and international organisations have supported the GDI, and nearly 70 countries have joined the UN-based Group of Friends of the GDI.

While pressing forward with social economic reforms and opening up to better people’s lives, China readily takes on its responsibility of protecting environment and tackling climate change. China has contributed to the conclusion of the Paris Agreement and established and invested about AU$350 million in the Kunming Biodiversity Fund. China has made the solemn pledge of achieving carbon peak and carbon neutrality by 2030 and 2060 respectively, and committed itself to moving from carbon peak to neutrality in just 30 years. China’s afforested area accounts for a quarter of the world’s total. China’s utility-scale solar capacity exceeds that of the rest of the world combined and China’s wind capacity is roughly equivalent to the total of the next top seven countries. Half of the world’s new energy vehicles run on Chinese roads. Over the first half of 2023, China added 78.42 gigawatt in installed PV capacity, over half of the total newly installed power capacity nationwide.

In the context of the volatile and downward trend of the entire world economy, under the strong leadership of Chinese Communist Party, China’s economy got off to a solid start in 2023 and continued to recover steadily and demonstrated a positive trend of development. China’s economy witnessed a 5.5 per cent growth in the first half of 2023, visibly faster than the three per cent growth rate last year and three percentage points higher than the growth rate of the US economy.

According to the IMF World Economic Outlook updated last month, China’s economy is expected to grow by 5.2 per cent and account for one third of global growth in 2023.

Presently, China is forging ahead to apply the new development philosophy, promote high quality development, accelerate the building of a new pattern of development, comprehensively deepen reform and opening up, intensify macro regulation, increase domestic demand, promote the initiative and growth of the private sector, and open up to the outside world at a higher level.

China’s high quality economic development has made solid progress and consumption plays a significantly stronger role in driving growth. In the first half of 2023, China’s domestic demand accounted for 110.8 per cent of economic growth, 59.4 percentage points higher than the same period last year. Industrial structure continued to get upgraded. Between January and July, investment in high-tech industries increased by 11.5 per cent year on year, and investment in scientific research and technology services industries was up 23.1 per cent year on year.

In the first half of 2023, the combined export of electric cars, lithium batteries and solar panels increased by 61.6 per cent year on year, demonstrating the strong resilience of China’s foreign trade. Despite the contracted foreign demand, China’s export has maintained a generally stable global market share in the first seven months of this year.

China’s post COVID-19 economic recovery might expect more twists and turns. The confidence in China’ economy outlook stays strong because China has a strong political leadership, stable and consistent guidelines and policies and the strong resilience, ample potential and robust dynamism as well as the fundamentals sustaining China’s sound economic growth in the long run remain unchanged.

China and Australia are both influential countries in Asia Pacific and China has long been the biggest trading partner of Australia, accounting for nearly one third of Australia’s trade with the world. Our cooperation is mutually beneficial and brings concrete benefits to people of both countries. After experiencing some difficulties, China Australia bilateral relations have stabilised, improved and developed ever since President Xi Jinping met with PM Albanese in Bali, Indonesia last November.

History of the past decades has proven that China’s peaceful development is a boon to Australia and the world. This year marks 50 years since Australian prime minister Gough Whitlam’s historic state visit to China, and the coming year will see our Comprehensive Strategic Partnership enter its 10th year. Now both sides are working closely to keep track of Prime Minister Albanese’s visit to China later this year, which will undoubtedly become another milestone in China Australia relations.

Standing at a new starting point of China Australia relations, we need to take concrete measures to further tighten our collaboration ties. Besides the traditional areas of energy, mining and agriculture, clean and renewable energy, electric vehicles, digital economy etc might be the new sectors into which China and Australia could tap the cooperation potentials to join hands in tackling common severe challenges such as climate change.

Now the winter is drawing to its end and early flowers have already been in full bloom. China Australia relationship will usher in another spring soon.

Belt and Road Initiative (BRI)

Introduced in 2013

155 countries have signed up to it

3000+ projects

420,000 jobs created

40 million people lifted out of poverty globally

Global Development Initiative (GDI)

Introduced by President Xi Jinping in 2021 at the UN to help countries meet Sustainable Development Goals

Supported by more than 100 nations

More than 70 countries in Group of Friends of the GDI

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