China Development Forum: Experts urge countries to work together to ensure economic growth
By Zhang Ruijun

2017-03-18 16:42:34

2km to Beijing

By CGTN’s Ming Tian 
The world economy remains mired in sub-par growth since the global financial crisis in 2008. Attendees at the China Development Forum (CDF) said on Saturday it's high time leaders pick the right issues to solve. 
The annual China Development Forum begins in Beijing on March 18, 2017. /CFP Photo
The world economy has not returned to its full potential, despite signs of recovery and stabilization. Experts at the CDF from China and other nations agreed that challenges persist. 
Zhang Tao, Deputy Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund, stressed that the only way to reach success is to “work together”, and believes all countries will benefit from cooperation.
IMF Deputy Managing Director Zhang Tao delivers a speech during the China Development Forum in Beijing, on March 18, 2017. /CFP Photo
Almost a decade after the global financial crisis, the world’s economic growth rate has yet to return to pre-crisis levels. New opposition to free trade and globalization now further threatens any return to those levels.
Panelists were deeply worried that this backlash will hurt the fragile and uneven global recovery. They say it is important to work together, and not shut out partners and opportunities. 
“Backlash on anti-globalization doesn’t close markets, but open the doors,” said Gabriela Ramos Patino, chief of staff at the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. 
OECD Chief of Staff Gabriela Ramos Patino delivers a speech during the China Development Forum in Beijing, on March 18, 2017. /CFP Photo
Business executives, however, are confident about the outlook on free trade, despite the increasing global trend of protectionism. 
Yousef Al-Benyan, the Chief Executive Officer for Saudi Basic Industries Corporation particularly emphasized the effect of technological innovation. 
“I think innovations have improved productivity almost two-thirds, and backed job creations. Technology innovation brings out higher-end jobs and high-paid jobs, which is part of the concerns of the speakers. I think free trade going to force itself, people will go back to the reality that free trade is beneficial for everybody,” said Al-Benyan. 
Business, political and academic leaders attend the China Development Forum in Beijing, on March 18, 2017. /CFP Photo
Experts also point out that other issues are adding to the woes of global growth, notably the refugee crisis in the Middle East and political elections in Europe. With so many tasks at hand to "fix" the world economy, those in power now have to choose the right tasks to start the journey. 
This year’s CDF runs March 18-20.