【何帆】How can China contribute to G20
Caixin Insight Research
The 2016 Chinese Presidency could be a pivotal moment for both China and the G20.
For China, it presents the opportunity to demonstrate the constructive role it can play in the global financial and economic architecture, one that matches its current weight in the global economy. This status has come off the back of China’s growth miracle, which has brought more than 600 million people out of poverty in the past quarter of a century . The IMF recently calculated that China is the largest economy in terms of purchasing power parity, although it still ranks around 85th in the world in terms of GDP per person, behind Colombia, South Africa and the Dominican Republic. China is also well behind the US and other advanced economies on other measures of economic development .
China’s rapid economic growth has corresponded with a marked shift in its approach to international economic issues, which has been long associated with Deng Xiaoping’s axiom to ‘hide your strength, bide your time’. President Xi Jinping is an ambitious leader who has spoken of ‘China’s dream’, one aspect of which is coming back into the stage of international politics as a rising power and playing more active roles in the reform of global governance. China’s push to take a bigger role in global affairs ambitions has been advanced through a raft of initiatives, including the ‘road and belt’ development strategy, Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, the Silk Road Fund, and the BRICS New Development Bank.  China’s new approach to international engagement has also been emboldened by the successes of its 2014 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) chairmanship and by 57 countries joining the AIIB as founding members in 2015.
For the G20, China’s 2016 Presidency represents an important symbolic juncture in the fundamental shift in global governance that was the catalyst for the establishment of the G20 in 1999. The G20’s significance to China is that it brings together the leaders of both the major emerging markets and developed economies to deal with global economic and financial issues. As the largest emerging market, China’s 2016 presidency is an important step in the shift in global economic governance away from major developed economies. It can be expected that China will seek to use its term as G20 chair to great effect. If successful, China’s presidency could also form a valuable counterargument to claims that the G20’s effectiveness is limited during a ‘peace time’ (as opposed to a crisis) setting. This chapter canvasses the issues that could form the core of China’s G20 Presidency.
The 2016 G20 Leaders Summit in Hangzhou should focus on promoting stronger growth, making globalisation function better and addressing deficiencies in global governance. Potential initiatives in growth, employment,
investment, trade, financial regulation, international finance, energy and climate change are canvassed in this chapter. These are all significant economic problems that already exist on the G20’s agenda, although progress on many has been patchy at best. It would be very ambitious if China could significantly move the G20 forward on all these issues in the twelve months of its presidency. China should aim for substantive achievements in at least a few areas, while continuing to advance all items on the G20 agenda. The key will be in prioritisation. What one or two outcomes that China is willing to risk its reputation on, and how well it can manage the diplomacy of the forum and the risks around consensus building for key priorities, will be crucial to its overall success.
2. China’s G20 Presidency can contribute to strong and resilient global growth
The key challenge that continues to confront the G20 is how to increase global economic growth, and at the same time increase its resilience. The Brisbane Summit in 2014 was significant in bringing the issue of growth back as a priority for the G20 agenda, and was exceptional in establishing specific growth goals and accompanying reform plans in a non-crisis setting. The Australian decision to focus G20 attention on the collective policies necessary to raise global GDP by more than 2 per cent by 2018 (effectively a 2 per cent target), shifted focus toward structural reforms that raise the collective productive potential of G20 economies, and is a significant accomplishment in collective economic policy thinking. The real measure of success is not in the 2 per cent headline growth figure, but in the 1000–plus structural policies that countries have pledged to implement. The outcome from the Brisbane Summit was a significant advance on similar exercises at previous G20 summits. The November 2015 Antalya Summit must ensure that G20 members continue to implement their commitments. If this results in a significant improvement in growth and employment outcomes, this will increase the influence and legitimacy of the G20. However, G20 members cannot be compelled to implement reforms and most leaders do not seem to be under domestic public pressure to deliver on the commitments they made in front of their peers. So where does this leave China in 2016, at the mid-way point towards the G20’s 2 per cent target?
The G20’s capacity to improve growth needs to come from a focus on three areas: managing emerging issues, continuing to oversee the implementation of existing structural reform commitments that will increase global supply and also contribute to increased global demand, and trying to raise the level of ambition through new and additional actions, where these are appropriate.
The global economy still faces significant economic challenges, which will impact on the capacity of the G20 to raise growth in a sustained manner. The G20 will need to continue to monitor, evaluate, and respond to emerging issues, such as the likely spill-over effects associated with the eventual normalisation of interest rates in advanced economies, evolving financial sector risks, low levels of productivity growth, and the overhang of large levels of public debt. These issues are crucial, common challenges to the long-term prosperity of the global economy, but they can also exhaust the energies of G20 members with diversified interests and different priorities. China will need to demonstrate adroit leadership in 2016 to ensure that G20 members continue to approach these issues in a cooperative, rather than a confrontational, fashion.
A key development in the G20’s efforts to implement growth commitments will be the first annual IMF/OECD progress report, which will be delivered to Leaders in November 2015. It is crucial that this analysis be forthright and critical, and that all G20 members respond positively to the findings and use them to advance further commitments. China will also need to raise the level of G20 ambition, and will have to lead by example as G20 chair. For China, domestic consumption needs to be fostered, and actions to build well-functioning social safety network are positive steps in this direction, but this will take some time.
For many countries, including in Asia, Latin America, Africa and the US, there remains the serious problem of underinvestment. Investment received considerable attention at the Brisbane Summit. Leaders stated that tackling global investment and infrastructure shortfalls is crucial to lift growth, job creation and productivity, launched the multi-year global infrastructure initiative and the Global Infrastructure Hub; and pledged, through their growth strategies, to take the domestic actions to stimulate investment.  The 2015 Antalya Summit can build on this emphasis by expanding on the domestic actions through country-specific investment strategies and taking investment in new directions, such as a focus on small and medium enterprises, Islamic finance, and public-private partnerships.
The Hangzhou Summit should continue the G20 focus on investment. What is most important is not just the total volume of investment, but the quality of the investment. All investment projects should be carefully evaluated with rigorous cost-benefit analysis so as to ensure that their net societal benefits are maximized, and the G20 can have a role in promoting cost-benefit analysis for all public and public-private projects. Project selection is vital, as is the public transparency of project selection. There are also frequent calls to identify investment project pipelines and improve information flows. The G20’s further role here, if any, will become clearer once the Australia’s Global Infrastructure Hub is established and begins operating.
China has a lot of experience in building infrastructure, both domestically and as part of its relationships with less developed countries. With this experience, and the newly established AIIB, China may seek to use the G20 presidency to communicate with the international community on its objectives in supporting overseas investment, and highlight successful investment projects it has been involved in. The international community is also likely to be interested in exploring how the AIIB, BRICS New Development Bank, and Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, will interact with existing multilateral institutions.
China may also seek to drive forward G20 discussions on international rules on global investment. There is a sense within emerging market economies that current international investment standards mainly serve the interests of traditional investors in advanced economies. However, investors from emerging market economies have become more significant global players, and seek a more open international investment environment and strengthened investor protections. The UN, the WTO, and OECD have all previously discussed creating investment rules, and G20 finance ministers agreed in September 2014 to leading practices on promoting and prioritizing quality investment.  However, to date there is still no comprehensive international investment agreement. As G20 chair, China could seek to develop preliminary proposals for international investment rules.
In the long run, questions for boosting global economic growth centre on increasing total productivity in both developed and developing countries. Whilst productivity drivers are generally poorly understood, a key component of lifting productivity is to implement structural reform commitments across areas as diverse as competition, labour markets, trade, investment, and infrastructure. China could drive this agenda by focusing in particular on some key structural reforms and seek to achieve some substantial collective outcomes in order to generate momentum for further action. For example, one area that could be a particular focus of the G20 in 2016 is in making labour markets more flexible and resilient, given that this is a key issue not only for economic growth in the short run, but also for better preparation for an ageing society in the future.
The importance of creating more jobs was accentuated at the Brisbane Summit, particularly through each country delivering an employment plan and leaders committing to reduce the gap in gender participation between males and females by 25 per cent by 2025. Yet the G20’s employment commitments are subject to even less public scrutiny than the overarching growth strategies and the translation of intention to action remains unclear. Further, bringing an additional 12.5 million women on average into the workforce each year over a 10 year period will not be easy, given the world still faces daunting employment challenges, not least of which are experienced by other disenfranchised groups, such as large numbers of youth, the long-term unemployed, and older workers.
An ambitious objective for China in 2016 could be to drive a ‘grand narrative’ on employment that recognises the need for additional G20 action to overcome complex employment challenges, supports additional employment targets for other disenfranchised groups, and welcomes the delivery of realistic strategic assessments that explain how G20 members will reach their goals. To deliver on this ambition, G20 members will continue to need the assistance of relevant international organisations, business, groups, the labour movement and civil society.
Technology innovation should also be encouraged, and policies need to be better designed to facilitate the closing of the technology gap between developed and developing countries. However, there are challenges in achieving this, as negotiation on intellectual property regulation is being carried out through mega-regional trade agreements rather than multilaterally. The negotiations have revealed tensions between owners and buyers of intellectual property, and suggest a better regulatory framework may facilitate technology innovation worldwide. China, for its part, is interested in discussing how to create an innovation-friendly domestic environment and foster closer global cooperation on technology research and development.
3. China’s G20 Presidency can make globalisation function better
Australia’s and Turkey’s G20 presidencies have focused their narrative largely on the G20’s short term need to boost growth. China’s G20 Presidency can focus on making globalisation function better, and in doing so enhance the G20’s role as a steering committee for global economic governance.
A clear priority should be preventing any backlash of trade protectionism. One of the G20’s successes has been the standstill on protectionist measures. Despite this, in November 2014 the WTO reported that 1244 new trade restrictions have been introduced since 2008, covering 5 per cent of G20 imports.  In 2014, the business community called on G20 members to strengthen their stance by not only rolling back the protectionist measures introduced since 2008, but extending this to non-tariff barriers. Unfortunately, it was not taken up in Brisbane and is unclear if it will be taken up in Antalya. Significantly strengthening the G20’s protectionist standstill in 2016 would be difficult and would require a significant diplomatic effort by China, but making it a priority would send a clear signal that the G20 seeks to make globalisation work for all.
The G20 must focus on the evolution of multilateral trading system. The difficulties of advancing trade liberalisation multilaterally through the WTO has meant that countries have increasingly resorted to bilateral and regional trade agreements. Mega‑regional trade negotiations such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) have emerged to shape international trade rules. These mega-regional trade negotiations try to bring in ‘high standards’ in competition, government procurement, intellectual property rights, and state-owned enterprises. However, they are preferential trading arrangements that exclude most emerging market and developing countries, notably Brazil, India and China. They could cause significant harm if they drive a wedge between major trading countries and lead to competing trade and investment blocs.
In Brisbane, G20 leaders agreed that bilateral, regional and plurilateral trade agreements must complement each other and be consistent with a stronger multilateral trading system under a robust and effective WTO. Leaders further committed to implement all elements of the agreement reached by WTO trade ministers in Bali in December 2013, particularly the Trade Facilitation Agreement, a work program to complete the Doha Development Agenda and to discuss ways to make the global trade system work better. While the ambition is appropriate, by mid-2015 only four WTO members had ratified the Trade Facilitation Agreement and progress towards completing the Doha Round remains labored. The challenge that China confronts is how to turn the G20’s noble words into action. One approach it could take to help advance this challenging issue through the G20 is to ask two or three selected G20 Leaders to develop options papers on various aspects of the reform of the multilateral trading system and the WTO, such as the role of plurilateral agreements like the Information Technology Agreement and a Trade in Services Agreement, the implications of global value chains on the future work program of the WTO, and the interaction between the mega-regional trading agreements and the multilateral trading system.
The G20 as a forum also offers the prospect for dealing with some of the broader international issues of globalisation. The Ebola epidemic highlighted that a consequence of today’s globalised world is the rapid global transmission of negative as well as positive shocks, and that global health structures cannot manage effectively when these events occur in developing countries. This leaves the entire world exposed to potential confidence-shattering crises from future pandemics. To date, the G20 has been reluctant to go beyond political rhetoric that supports cooperation on infectious diseases and other health issues. G20 attention on longer-term health governance issues is warranted, particularly on the role that international organisations, particularly the World Health Organisation, play in crisis preparedness and response.
Similarly, economic governance needs to keep pace with the increased digitialisation of economies, which further breaks down the relevance of national boundaries. Global agreements on common rules for cybersecurity may be in the interests of G20 members, particularly the US and China. It remains unclear at this stage whether the G20 is the appropriate forum for these discussions, as a compelling argument around the economics of cooperation - one that would complement ‘cyber governance’ arguments around access and concerns around privacy - has not yet be made. However, this picture might change if the US and China were to agree to devise common rules for sectors with common global threat vulnerabilities, such as the financial sector.
Any suggestions to expand the agenda should be carefully balanced against the strictly limited time of leaders, and need for a narrow and focused G20 agenda if the G20 is to effectively pursue its priorities. It would be most unfortunate if China is viewed as not managing the agenda carefully and reducing the effectiveness of the forum
4. China’s G20 Presidency can reform global governance
A comprehensive Chinese presidency will also need to advance the G20’s role in reforming the governance of international organisations and their effectiveness in dealing with global economic challenges. It should emphasise building on the international ‘rules of the game’ and contributing to global norms. The G20 should focus on the international financial system, financial regulation, international tax, energy governance, and climate change.
4.1. Reform of the international financial system
In 2010, the G20 and the International Monetary and Financial Committee (IMFC) agreed to a series of reforms to the IMF’s quota and governance arrangements. The reforms aim to increase the voice and representation of fast-growing emerging markets in IMF decision-making, and are an important step towards ensuring that global economic governance decisions reflect economic realities. However, they have been repeatedly blocked by the US Congress, which has damaged the credibility of the IMF and brought the value of a G20 commitment into question.
The collective G20 and IMF memberships should continue to push for the US to honour its promise to IMF reform. However, recognising that the G20’s capacity to push further into a domestic US issue is limited and that substantive alternatives at the IMF have so far proven elusive, China should look to ensure that the G20 works closely with the IMF and remains proactive in contributing to the international financial system.
The G20 should be explicit in 2016 in ensuring that access to IMF resources and its surveillance remains even-handed and not biased in favour of any group of countries. The G20 will also need to determine, along with the IMFC, what arrangements will replace around $369 billion in bilateral loans that will expire in late 2016 and 2017 and which currently form the IMF’s second line of defense.  G20 members can also ensure that the basket of currencies in the IMF’s reserve asset (known as special drawing rights) continues to reflect key currencies according to objective criterion, to the extent these issues have not been resolved as part of the 2015 review of special drawing rights.
4.2. Financial regulation
It is seven years since Lehman Brothers collapsed. The G20 has advanced an extensive work program to make the global financial system more resilient to shocks and reduce the need for taxpayer-funded bailouts. Thanks to these actions, the chances of a repeat of the global financial crisis are greatly reduced, although systemic risks remain and the days of financial crises are by no means over.
The recent financial regulatory reform emphasis has been on ‘too big to fail’ and the amount of capital large global banks should hold, increasing regulation and oversight over shadow banks, implementing agreed reforms, FSB governance reform and ensuring that the economic consequences of any new regulatory actions are well understood. Although the most substantive financial regulatory gains have been made already and reform fatigue is most likely setting in in the financial sector, China can drive necessary additional action that makes the financial system safer. The focus in 2016 should be on getting emerging markets more involved and the longer-term ‘developmental’ side of financial regulation.
The function of the FSB should be strengthened, particularly in the surveillance of emerging financial risks and in understanding the unique circumstances of large emerging markets. For example, FSB analysis needs to recognise that the shadow banking system plays a different role in emerging markets like China, and measures that affect the sector therefore have different implications than in advanced economies. Further, more active participation of emerging markets in the FSB is the key to increasing its legitimacy. The FSB has made progress in this regard in recent years, including a decision last year to reduce representation of international organisations and provide additional seats to emerging market representatives. These are good steps, but more is needed and the challenge is for China to maintain the momentum for governance reform.
Further, the shadow banking sector is still expanding globally, but regulatory oversight has not matched the growth in the sector. As noted, shadow banking in emerging economies like China differs distinctly with its counterpart in the advanced economies. It’s difficult to imagine at the current stage a Chinese ‘Lehman moment’, but the risk of a large number of zombie banks and zombie companies should not be underestimated. Further, questions around how to increase trade credit to help facilitate the recovery of international trade, how to better serve the needs of small enterprises, poor people, and poor countries, and how better practices of financial regulation, capital flow management, and other ‘macroprudential’ tools can contribute to a healthy and resilient international financial system will also need to be answered in 2016.
4.3. International tax
Since 2013, G20 efforts on international tax have focused on modernising tax systems to end bank secrecy and prevent globally operating firms shifting profits to low- or no-tax jurisdictions. Turkey’s 2015 Presidency will oversee the delivery of the final eight items of the two-year, fifteen-point G20 and OECD base erosion and profit shifting (BEPS) action plan. In 2014 the G20 endorsed a Common Reporting Standard for the automatic exchange of tax information, with G20 countries committing to implement the exchange of information by 2018. This will help end bank secrecy and tackle tax evasion by individuals, and is a significant achievement.
The completion of the BEPS action plan in 2015 largely involves the completion of a series of recommendations. The challenge facing the G20 in 2016 will be to maintain momentum for reform and turn recommendations into actions. But another challenge facing China in 2016 is to help define the future of multilateral tax cooperation. The BEPS initiative needs to be viewed as just the start of a broader fundamental change in international tax governance arrangements. In particular, the work on international tax issues will not return to a largely OECD-centric exercise at the end of 2015. In the future, the direct involvement of developing countries will have to be enhanced. Moreover, it is very likely that some of the fundamental principles that underlie international tax arrangements, such as the allocation of taxing rights between 'source' and 'resident' countries, will be increasingly reviewed.  As chair of the G20 in 2016, China will have to shepherd the future evolution of international tax governance arrangements.
However, tax is a ‘hard sell’ domestically in China, where it is generally considered a technical issue for senior officials, and not a high-level political topic requiring extensive involvement from the leadership or from ministers. This is a very different context than that of many G20 countries, where cracking down on ‘corporate tax dodging’ has great public resonance, and governments are under continual political pressure to take action. The UK’s recent diverted profit tax shows the seemingly irresistible incentives to take unilateral action, which can lead to piecemeal and inconsistent arrangements globally, and can prompt retaliatory measures from other countries. There therefore seems to be a very real risk of a fragmentation of tax governance, precisely the opposite of the emphasis that is needed. A minimum goal for international tax in 2016 might be to ensure that technical progress continues and that the system does not significantly fragment, with increasing prevalence of unilateral solutions.
4.4. Energy Governance
It is clear that current global energy governance arrangements are not working in the interests of all. Current arrangements were largely developed in response to the oil shocks of the 1970s. They are fragmented and do not reflect the significant transformation in energy markets of recent years, particularly the role played by emerging markets.
In Brisbane, G20 countries acknowledged that the international energy architecture has not kept pace with rapid transformations in energy markets. Leaders endorsed principles on energy collaboration and asked their energy ministers to meet and advise on options to take these principles forward. A key part of these discussions will be articulating a persuasive vision for a new energy governance structure. China’s primary choice as 2016 chair will be on how energetically to promote an energy governance agenda. To date, China has accepted the existing international order, and although it has supported G20 actions it has been reluctant to take on an undue level of obligation in driving global change, partly because taking on a more prominent role can complicate China’s indentity as a developing country.  However, with China now the largest energy consumer, largest oil importer, and a major contributor to greenhouse gas emissions, it is a central player in all discussions about global energy.
2016 provides the opportunity to propose a bold reform agenda for global energy cooperation, and for China to articulate a vision for the future of governance for an important sector. At its most ambitious, the G20 could endorse the development of a new, representative multilateral energy governance agency that brings together all major energy consumers and producers to tackle the two critical challenges of energy governance simultaneously: secure a reliable and affordable supply of energy for all, and facilitate a smooth transformation to a low-carbon future. Details of membership, governance arrangements, funding structures, and agency locations would need to be negotiated, as would its relationships with the existing structure of energy agencies such as the IEA, the International Energy Forum, the Energy Charter Treaty Organisation, the Clean Energy Ministerial, and the many bodies specialising in energy policy and technology. Alternatively, the Chinese presidency could focus the G20 on reforming and expanding on the role of the IEA, including opening its membership to developing and emerging markets. At a less ambitious level, China’s G20
Presidency could focus on advancing discussions over the G20’s energy principles.
4.5. Climate change
China’s G20 presidency will begin after the December 2015 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) meeting in Paris. With serious air pollution problems continuing to be a serious problem in many parts of China, especially in heavily-populated Beijing and neighboring areas, environmental issues are also likely to continue to be a prominent part of the Chinese domestic discourse.
At the 2014 APEC Summit, US President Barack Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping issued a joint announcement on climate change, which pledges the US to reduce its emission by 26-28 per cent below its 2005 level
in 2025, and China to achieve the peaking of CO₂ emissions around 2030 and increase the share of non-fossil fuels in primary energy consumption to around 20 per cent by 2030.  Many observers claimed this to be a breakthrough in environment protection and a prelude to a ‘great leap forward’ in the form of a broad and binding agreement in Paris.
Given the complexity of global climate change challenges, it remains to be seen whether the US-China political agreement will be a catalyst for action. Climate change remains a more contentious aspect to the G20’s agenda. The consistent views expressed by emerging economies such as India is that the G20 should not have a prominent role in advancing solutions to climate change and that the UNFCCC process is the preferred climate change forum. These views seem destined to prevent the G20 from providing leadership at the Antalya Summit, just two weeks ahead of the Paris meeting. It is telling that G20 countries were not able to collectively commit in Brisbane to a timeframe for announcing their pledged reductions in emissions.
Such constraints have not stopped strong rhetoric from the Turkish 2015 G20 chair. At the Brisbane summit, just two weeks before assuming the G20 Presidency, Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu stated that G20 leaders need to be ‘the ministers for domestic affairs for humanity’ rather than their standard operating approach of ‘ministers advocating for their national interests in an international forum’ . The rhetoric adds to the public impression that the G20 will make a strong contribution to solving climate change, and stokes a dangerous disconnect between reality and public perceptions. Climate change remains an important expectations-setting area for China and a potential area of credibility for the forum.
If the G20 were to address climate change issues during China’s G20 Presidency, it would appeal to the domestic Chinese public, and send positive signals to the world. It is likely that the G20 will need to make crucial decisions in 2016 about its role in solving climate change following the Paris
climate meeting. If the UN’s discussions are successful, the G20 is likely to have an important role to play in eliciting climate finance commitments, and in ensuring that financing pledges are linked with sound, agreed principles for the disbursement of funds.
In the likely event that Paris outcomes disappoint, however, the G20 should be prepared to take a more active role that reassures the public that multilateral solutions to big, pressing economic challenges are still achievable. This would be a highly challenging course of action. As chair, China would probably need to drive a consensus around the need for the G20 to demonstrate strong leadership in the development of workarounds to disappointing climate change negotiations. Contributing to this focus in 2016 could be the G20’s work on ensuring energy governance decisions prioritize transition to a low-carbon world, discussions on ‘green’ dimensions to trade, promoting climate finance initiatives and exploring whether collective, collaborative solutions on climate change research and development are achievable. Although this would extremely difficult, China may find it does not have a choice. It will be important that the G20 ‘fill the gap’ and show leadership in responding to the political crisis on this difficult global issue.
We have canvassed a wide range of potential priorities for a motivated Chinese G20 presidency, particularly in growth, employment, trade, investment, international finance, financial regulation, energy and climate change. There remains significant potential for the G20 to boost global growth, create jobs, contribute to global public goods, reshape norms, address key economic risks, fundamentally shape existing multilateral institutions, and develop relevant new institutions. In short, the G20 can realise its potential to act as a steering committee for international economic governance.
It is worth repeating that what we have outlined is highly ambitious, and not all the suggestions can form the key components of the Chinese Presidency in 2016. China should prioritise, taking into account the outcomes on which it is willing to risk its reputation, where it seeks to concentrate its diplomatic efforts, and its chances of building a consensus.
We remain optimistic that the G20 can deliver in 2016. Although multilateralism has been seen as in decline, the G20 offers the best prospect to advance multilateral solutions to economic challenges. Leaders come to the G20 for genuine interactions with their peers, and not to just read set pieces, and the forum compares favourably with other multilateral forum such as the UN and EU project. An influential 2016 Chinese Presidency could trigger an upward spiral in international cooperation that will continue to deliver benefits for the international community, global economic governance, and for China in the coming years. If China were able to achieve this in the absence of a crisis trigger, it would be a truly remarkable moment in the G20’s history.
 The Economist, Not always with us, 1 June 2013, http://www.economist.com/news/briefing/21578643-world-has-astonishing-chance-take-billion-people-out-extreme-poverty-2030-not
 When calculating global values of macroeconomic variables, such as gross domestic product (GDP) and inflation, the weighting of an individual country in the overall result depends on the relative size of its economy. Regular GDP rankings are compiled by converting a country’s GDP into $US at prevailing market exchange rates. In 2012 World Bank statistics valued US GDP at over $16 trillion, twice the size of China’s. By this measure that China’s economy won’t overtake the US for a decade or more. Another way of comparing economies uses a concept called purchasing power parity (PPP). PPP exchange rates make adjustments for the differing costs of goods and services across countries. They attempt to show what exchange rates would have to be to buy the same basket of goods in different places. As costs are much higher in the advanced countries, comparisons of GDP by PPP
Which measure – market exchanges rate or PPP – is better depends on the context and the economist. Some economists believe that GDP at market exchange rates is more relevant than ‘purchasing power parity’ for projecting power — to buy guns you need foreign currency, not bowls of rice. Using that measure, China doesn’t overtake the US until 2025, just a decade away. But market exchange rates are subject to market fluctuations, and PPP provides a better indicator or an economy’s underlying potential. For further background, please go to http://www.eastasiaforum.org/2014/11/02/the-economics-of-asian-geo-political-stability/ and http://blogs.wsj.com/economics/2014/04/30/chinas-economy-surpassing-u-s-well-yes-and-no/
 For a brief, high-level introduction to the ‘one belt, one road’ development strategy, please see http://usa.chinadaily.com.cn/china/2013-10/04/content_17008940.htm and http://www.wantchinatimes.com/news-subclass-cnt.aspx?id=20141125000106&cid=1102.
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