BEIJING, China — The China Development Forum 2016 held in March brought together business and finance leaders from around the world. The theme of the forum was “China in the New Five-Year Plan.”
China’s new five-year plan involves supply-side structural reform aimed at stimulating the market. In an article published by Xinhua News, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang remarked that adhering to this plan would allow China to maintain a “medium-high growth rate and achieve medium-high level of development.”
The supply-side reforms will help restructure the economy by reducing “ineffective and low-end supply” while boosting productivity through the expansion of medium to high-end supply.
The five-year plan also relies on innovation and entrepreneurship to develop new engines of economic growth. In the same Xinhua News article, Li noted that China will emphasize technological and institutional innovation in the coming years to meet its goals for economic growth and development.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, as well as Alibaba Group Holding Company ower Jack Ma, both attended the forum. In a talk he delivered to a room of global business leaders, Zuckerberg expressed his confidence in China’s future in science and technology education.
Sri Mulyani Indrawati, the Managing Director and Chief Operating Officer of the World Bank, also delivered a speech at the forum highlighting the benefits of international trade.
Indrawati described the trend of trade outpacing global GDP by approximately three percentage points in the decades before the global financial crisis. Further, she claimed that trade has been especially beneficial to low and middle income countries, whose trade grew faster than world exports by 2.5 percentage points in the fifteen years prior leading up to the Global Financial Crisis.
She praised China’s role in bolstering international trade, noting that “China’s favorable tariff policies to some of the last developed countries and the China’s overseas investments enabled many countries to unlock their trade potential.”
Starting in 2008, protectionist trade measures have become more common. Indrawati highlighted the risks these policies posed to global prosperity, and praised China’s Belt and Road initiative as “one of the most ambitious efforts to improve cross-border connectivity on a trans-continental scale.”
China’s “Belt and Road” is a shortened name for two initiatives announced by Chinese President Xi Jinping in autumn of 2013 – the “Silk Road Economic Belt” and the “21st-Century Maritime Silk Road.”
These projects aim to connect Asia, Europe and Africa by improving and building infrastructure for land and sea trade routes.
According to the State Council of the People’s Republic of China, the Belt and Road Initiative is a “way for win-win cooperation that promotes common development and prosperity and a road toward peace and friendship by enhancing mutual understanding and trust, and strengthening all-around exchanges.”
In her speech at the forum, Indrawati lauded China for its work on the Belt and Road Initiative, stating that the country’s “leadership and its financial backbone makes the Belt and Road initiative credible.”
If the initiative proves successful, landlocked countries such as Kazakhstan, Afghanistan, Ethiopia and Zambia will benefit greatly from the resulting improvements to infrastructure.