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It's time to chart a Eurasian approach to cement certainty for global economy

Pan Deng

 , Updated 22:58, 13-May-2024
May 5, 2024, the last day of the May Day holiday. A China-Europe train leaves for Hungary at a railway station in Jinhua City, east China's Zhejiang Province, May 5, 2024. /CFP
May 5, 2024, the last day of the May Day holiday. A China-Europe train leaves for Hungary at a railway station in Jinhua City, east China's Zhejiang Province, May 5, 2024. /CFP

May 5, 2024, the last day of the May Day holiday. A China-Europe train leaves for Hungary at a railway station in Jinhua City, east China's Zhejiang Province, May 5, 2024. /CFP

Editor's note: Pan Deng is an anchor and commentator with CGTN. He holds a doctor's degree in communication studies and an LLM in international relations. He hosted CGTN's live coverage on President Xi Jinping's visit to Europe.

Chinese President Xi Jinping's visit to Europe has achieved consensus and agreements on both bilateral and multilateral cooperation. The outcome of this visit sets the course for China-Europe ties in the near future. Diplomacy with forward-looking action plans has wider implications as the world urgently needs certainty to maintain development on track. It's time to chart a possible Eurasian approach to sustain economic development for the world's largest landmass and beyond.

Business is business

Economic globalization faces tougher headwinds when the world's largest economy decides to build its own small yard with high fences. The ensuing U.S. narratives, like the so-called "overcapacity" in China's new energy sector, are another blow to global economic recovery. It's not only fabricated but, to make things worse, an intentional ignorance of basic market rules.

In basic economics, supply and demand are in a state of dynamic balance. The two adjust and adapt due to changes from the other side, as either side is static. This is the beauty of a market economy and the foundation for making business decisions. From cost-profit and quality-price perspectives, if the supply side can produce at a lower cost with good quality and reasonable pricing to meet consumers' demand, it gains an advantage in the market.

At the China-France-EU trilateral meeting in Paris, President Xi said China's new energy sector has made real progress in open competition, representing advanced production capacity. It not only increases global supply and alleviates the pressure of global inflation but also contributes significantly to global climate response and green transition. This clearly demonstrates China's respect for basic market rules and its commitment to striving for a green world for all.

China is willing to let businesses do what they're good at. This sentiment is echoed by Hungary. China's BYD will build a manufacturing and production center in Szeged, which will be the first of its kind by a Chinese automotive company in Europe. Hungary's Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó hailed the project as "one of the most important investments in Hungary's economic history." He also revealed that the project will cost "billions of euros" and create "thousands of jobs."

Deeper trust for broader exchanges

Not politicizing business decisions doesn't mean politics cannot play a constructive role in business. Business in the age of economic globalization highly depends on global industrial and supply chains, which are becoming ever more sophisticated and transcontinental, requiring both physical updates and policy coordination. Therefore, political mutual trust and reliable infrastructure are equally important for their sustainability.

China believes it can partner with Europe to maintain the smooth operation of these two chains, without targeting, being dependent on, or being restricted by any third party. The existing China-Europe Freight Railway is a testament to this principle. The realization of this trade artery on the Eurasian continent serves as physical proof of strategic trust between the two sides.

For major economies like China and the EU, structural issues in trade are not anomalies. The key is to solve them constructively. During his meeting with his French counterpart Macron, President Xi used the term "upward balancing" when discussing the potential of bilateral trade. This forward-looking methodology can be applied to problem-solving on many issues. After all, if all sides engage in political wrangling, the downward spiral will easily breach the bottom line.

From the bustling Eurasian Land Bridge and the revamped Smederevo Steelworks in Serbia to the ongoing updates to the Serbia-Hungary Railway and the China-France agreement to jointly restore the Notre-Dame Cathedral, the momentum showcases the power of deeper trust and the benefits it can bring to ordinary people. When people can genuinely feel the benefits in their daily lives, politicians have more reasons to deepen bilateral trust-building. This positive feedback loop partially contributes to the multifaceted exchanges we've seen in China-Europe ties.

Potential of a Eurasian approach

In the early days of the 20th century, driven by geopolitical considerations, Halford John Mackinder grouped Europe, Asia and Africa together as a World Island. Today, empires have long disappeared, and the world is no longer dominated by colonialism and imperialism. However, it's unfortunate to see the shadows of bloc confrontation and geopolitical conflicts still lingering, as two conflicts are underway on the Eurasian continent.

As a multipolar world is still emerging, a Eurasian approach holds great significance for a more just and peaceful world order. It also serves as a test of wisdom for all visionary statesmen on the continent.

The western part of this vast land is one of the world's most economically advanced regions. Six out of ten BRICS member countries are in the middle or eastern part of the Eurasian continent. The will and experience arising from the cooperation between developed and emerging economies could be exponential for global economic recovery.

Furthermore, the Eurasian continent connects Africa and Southeast Asia, both demonstrating strong potential for economic development. The African Development Bank says Africa will account for eleven of the world's 20 fastest-growing economies in 2024. The Africa Union's ambitious Agenda 2063 aims to build a highly-connected socio-economic community. Over in Southeast Asia, some ASEAN economies are among the most robust in the world. Bridging development needs and potentials through Eurasia via infrastructure cooperation, trade facilitation, capacity building and sharing technological know-how will not only cement global economic stability but also unleash more driving forces for the global economy to recover and stand firm in the face of protectionism and unilateralism.

Sustainable economic development is crucial to global stability. Conflicts and instability do not arise from a vacuum. Poverty, underdevelopment, and inequality in the world order are some of the root causes of turbulence. Addressing such challenges in advance and in the spirit of common good and prosperity is a pressing task for responsible players on the global stage. If a Eurasian approach can be charted through existing political will, documents and projects in progress, it will serve as a passage for all parties involved and the larger Global South towards a more certain tomorrow.

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