On May 29th, the International Finance Forum (IFF) opened its 2021 Spring Meetings in Beijing. António Guterres, Secretary General of the United Nations; Kristalina Georgieva, President of the International Monetary Fund (IMF); José Manuel Barroso, Chair of the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (GAVI) and former Prime Minister of Portugal; Henry M. Paulson, Jr., former US treasury secretary and founder and Chairman of the Paulson Institute, and other leaders delivered video speeches at the opening ceremony. Gao Yan, Chairperson of the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade (CCPIT), presided over the opening ceremony.
Guterres said the COVID-19 outbreak has upended people’s lives and affected progress towards the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals. To respond effectively to the impact of the pandemic, it is necessary to close the global vaccine gap and provide more support for developing countries that are on the brink of a debt crisis. Developed countries should honor their aid and climate financing commitments to promote early recovery of the world economy and effectively respond to the global climate crisis.
Georgieva said the global economic recovery is diverging dangerously, and policy makers in various countries must give everyone a fair shot at the vaccine, recovery, and future. China’s efforts in global anti-pandemic cooperation are commendable and its pledge to achieve net-zero emissions by 2060 demonstrates its image as a responsible major country and underlines the global consensus reached in this regard. Investment in green infrastructure will not only contribute to the transformation to a new climate economy, but also to global economic growth and job opportunities.
Barroso said that public health is a global public good, and countries should invest more human, material, financial and scientific resources to prevent future pandemics. It is imperative to promote the equitable distribution of global vaccines, and developed countries should provide assistance to countries and regions with weak capacity to cope with the pandemic. In the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, global climate change, financial system stability and other issues, the international community should, in the spirit of solidarity and cooperation, enhance understanding and mutual trust, uphold multilateralism, and join hands to meet challenges.
Paulson said that the China-US relationship is one of the most important bilateral relations in the world today. It is in the interests of both countries to avoid unnecessary confrontation and promote benign competition as much as possible. The two countries should expand cooperation in addressing climate change, further eliminate tariff barriers, promote the free flow of environmental goods and services, jointly develop clean technologies, and study methods and measures for pricing natural resources.
Chen Jian’an, Vice Chairman of the CCPIT, said in an interview that it is necessary to speed up the training of the “national team” of Chinese enterprises participating in global economic governance, organize more Chinese enterprises to participate in the industrial and commercial activities under multilateral mechanisms such as G20, APEC, and BRICS, and promote economic globalization towards a more open, inclusive, balanced and win-win direction. Institutional opening up covering rules, regulations, management and standards should be vigorously promoted. A business environment that is based on market principles, governed by law and up to international standards should be fostered. Bilateral, multilateral, and regional cooperation should be deepened. We should unleash the potential of the huge China market and enormous domestic demand. While continuing to be “the world’s factory”, China will strive to be “the world’s market”. China’s sustained development and opening-up will surely give stronger impetus to the recovery and growth of the world economy, and create historic opportunities and open up broader space for business cooperation among various countries.
The IFF 2021 Spring Meetings are co-hosted by CCPIT and IFF, and organized by Chaoyang District People’s Government of Beijing Municipality and Beijing International Finance Forum Co., Ltd. The event is held against the backdrop that countries are jointly fighting the COVID-19 pandemic and promoting the early recovery of the world economy. It aims to build consensus on cooperation among the global financial community and to call on the international community to uphold and practice multilateralism. It will have a positive impact on promoting solidarity and cooperation, enhancing understanding and mutual trust among global economies, and promoting the building of a community with a shared future for mankind through concrete actions.
The event is held both online and offline with the theme of “Global Governance and Development in the Post-Pandemic Era”. In addition to the opening ceremony and plenary session, there were 13 thematic discussions covering such topics as global sustainable finance, global anti-pandemic cooperation, global climate cooperation, carbon neutrality, digital currency, changes and challenges in the global economic landscape, and the green Silk Road. Many former foreign dignitaries and heads of international organizations delivered speeches. About 500 people, including members of the Presidium and Council of the IFF, heads of relevant financial departments, representatives of the business sector, experts and scholars, participated in the event and exchanged their views. During the conference, the IFF also released the IFF China Report 2021.
The IFF is an international organization headquartered in Beijing. Since its establishment in 2003, it has successfully held 17 annual meetings and maintained close contact with more than 50 countries and regions, over 50 international and regional organizations, and above 200 global financial leaders. It has exerted extensive influence in promoting international financial strategic dialogue, exchanges and cooperation, and academic research.