January 31, 2014 China, Europe and the US: A new cooperative framework
Jan 24, 2014
DAVOS-KLOSTERS Switzerland – By deepening collaboration, Europe, the United States and China could shape solutions to difficult international challenges such as the environment and achieving a new multilateral trade regime, business and government leaders from the three biggest economies in the world said in a session on the potential for trilateral cooperation at the 44th Annual Meeting of the World Economic Forum.
“If China, the European Union and the US are able to align their strategic interests in the global system, that would be a very good thing,” Nick Clegg, Deputy Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, told participants. “The US, Europe and China are different in culture, systems and language,” noted Wang Jianlin, Chairman of Dalian Wanda Group of China. “But differences are not what is most important; cooperation is. We must work together.”
An even more powerful cooperative combination would include Japan, Joseph S. Nye Jr, University Distinguished Service Professor at the Harvard Kennedy School, said. “Why not include the fourth-largest economy? You shouldn’t let the politics of relations between China and Japan or other countries interfere with this.”
A big challenge to any collaborative arrangement among Europe, the United States and China would be strengthening the US-China side of the triangle. To build trust will require greater transparency between the two countries. “There is a certain degree of trust deficit,” Nye acknowledged. “But the more contact we have, the better it will be to build trust.” Lloyd C. Blankfein, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Goldman Sachs Group, said: “With trust comes more opportunity. We are still in the blush of young love; it will take a while.”
How China develops economically and politically in coming years will have a bearing on the level of cooperation that may be achieved, Blankfein said. “We are bullish on China, but people should manage their expectations. Reforms are very key and execution is very important.” The policy reforms outlined at the Third Plenary Session of the 18th Communist Party of China Central Committee in November 2013 are “pregnant with promise and pregnant with possibility for a broader and deeper integration” of China with the rest of the world, Angel Gurría, Secretary-General of the Paris-based Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), said. “There’s an opening here. So let’s use it and all the tools that are available to us.”
The 44th World Economic Forum Annual Meeting is taking place from 22 to 25 January under the theme, The Reshaping of the World: Consequences for Society, Politics and Business. Participating this year are over 2,500 leaders from nearly 100 countries, including 300 public figures, 1,500 business leaders and representatives from civil society, academia, the media and arts.