The challenges to China’s growth

DISCLAIMER: All opinions in this column reflect the views of the author(s), not of EURACTIV Media network.

Improvements in governance and environmental protection are among the most serious challenges to achieving sustainable development in China, writes Wing Thye Woo for the Center for Social and Economic Research in Warsaw.

The September study remarks that China has recently described building a harmonious society – “a democratic society under the rule of law and living in harmony with nature” – as its “most important task”. 

Thus China’s quest for a harmonious society requires it to help provide global public goods, particularly strengthening the multilateral free trade system and protecting the environment, states Woo. Specifically, he suggests that China “works actively for the success of the Doha Round and for an international research consortium to develop clean coal technology”. 

Woo remarks that although China has “benefited immensely from the GATT-WTO free-trade regime”, it has thus far “played a very passive role in pushing the Doha Round negotiations forward to completion”, with Brazil and India leading the developing economies. 

Thus “it is time for China to show that it is a responsible stakeholder by joining in the stewardship of the multilateral free trade system”, Woo writes, calling for it to “seek a leadership role in the Doha Round negotiations that is commensurate with its participation in international trade”. 

Woo calls on China to “mobilise international consensus to form an international research consortium to develop ways to burn coal cleanly”, especially as the construction of a power station a week means it is “able to facilitate extensive experimentation on prototype plants to burn coal cleanly”. 

However, he concludes that “while the need to maintain high growth could motivate China to become more active in supplying global public goods”, “the usual reluctance of the existing dominant powers to share the commanding heights of world political leadership” may not allow it to do so. 

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