Former UK trade minister praises 'shared future' vision

Updated 2018-01-31 13:10:04

Former British trade minister Lord Stephen Green said Tuesday he hopes British Prime Minister Theresa May will "give a lot of encouragement to the Belt and Road Initiative, and to the constructive Chinese engagement in international affairs".

Speaking to China Daily after his lecture at the London-based think tank Asia House, Green praised the globalization model championed by China as creating "more equal distribution of trade powers", compared to the post-World War II model of globalization led by the United States.

One key manifestation of the China-led globalization model is the Belt and Road Initiative, which seeks to grow connectivity between Asia and Europe through infrastructure investment. As an open and inclusive initiative, it has already created business deals for many British companies, ranging from banks and law firms to engineering consultants.

Green said he sees the initiative as creating "huge opportunities" for global trade and praised President Xi Jinping's call to "building a community with shared future for mankind" as a timely long-term vision underpinning the new global trade order today.

Xi raised this concept during a keynote speech at the United Nations Office at Geneva in January 2017, during which he elaborated on China's solution to current global challenges: building a community with shared future for mankind that features all-win cooperation and sharing.

"The world order is fluid at the moment, the post-World War II order has broken down. A thoughtful long-term perspective is timely," Green said.

This post-World War II order, Green said, gave power to Western-led institutions such as the G7 and the United Nations. This power structure is becoming out of date as fast-growing emerging economies such as China step onto the global stage to play a leadership role.

While believing Britain has made a mistake in voting to leave the European Union, Green said Britain needs to "make the most" of Brexit by recognizing the new opportunities it creates, one of which is the "increased capacity to be a distinctive representation of international opportunities to the Chinese".

Green, who is also chairman of Asia House, served as UK Minister of State for Trade and Investment between 2011 and 2013. Before that, he was group chief executive and group chairman of HSBC.

His lecture placed the significance of Xi's thoughts within the wider context of globalization over the past two centuries, including a warning on the dangers of the Cold War mentality which puts barriers on free trade.

Green identified China as the leading new emerging power in the global trade order today, adding China-US relations going forward have great implications for all countries.

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