[Editor’s Note]

On December 11, 2001, China formally joined the World Trade Organization. This day has become an important watershed in the development of relations between China and the world.

In the past 20 years, China has fully fulfilled its commitments, continued to advance in reform and opening up, its overall national strength has increased significantly, and its international status and influence have continued to rise. At the same time, the world economic and trade pattern is constantly evolving, trade frictions occur from time to time, and globalization encounters countercurrents.

Standing at a new historical juncture, how should we look back on the changes brought to China and the world over the past 20 years after China’s entry into the WTO? How should we look forward to the future of China’s economic and trade relations with the world? In this regard, the news released a special report on the 20th anniversary of China’s accession to the WTO, “When the Wind Resurrected”, in-depth dialogue with many witnesses and scholars, hoping to provide a more dimensional perspective.

The development of China in the past 20 years since its entry into the World Trade Organization (WTO) has not only changed China, but also changed the world to a considerable extent. In this process, the relationship between China and the world, the relationship between China and the West, the relationship between China and neighboring countries and regions, especially the relationship between China and the United States, have also changed accordingly.

Today, from the new crown epidemic to climate issues (proposed carbon neutrality and carbon peaking), from political differences to regional conflicts, personal risks, policy risks, and professional risks , Economic risks, organizational risks, and global risks are intertwined to shape our lives, work, and the world, and ultimately determine how we as individuals, in our daily lives, in enterprises, and in government, deal with these risks.

American financial writer Michelle Walker coined the term “gray rhino” to remind people of obvious risks. Since the introduction and publication of “Gray Rhinoceros: How to Deal with High Probability Crisis” by CITIC Publishing House in 2017, gray rhinos have become a phenomenon-level vocabulary well-known, hotly discussed and widely used by the public, and gray rhinos have also become an important term for domestic risk prevention. China has also become a fertile ground and successful example for the use of “gray rhinos”. In the four years since the publication of “Gray Rhino: How to Deal with High Probability Crisis”, its author Michel Walker has visited many countries and conducted more detailed, rigorous and in-depth interviews and research on the theme of “risk”. , The second “Gray Rhino: How Individuals and Organizations Dance with Risk” was finally written. Michelle Walker pointed out in an interview with the news that from the perspective of trade balance, in the future, the World Trade Organization will not only pay attention to trade in goods, but also look at trade in services. Trade and service trade have a broad perspective to better serve the low-carbon transition. Among them, it is particularly worthwhile to study how to cooperate in tackling climate change, based on the realization of the goal of carbon neutrality, and promote the green and low-carbon cooperation between China and the United States. Trade liberalization and investment facilitation in technology, products, and services in the field.

Currently, there is a risk of policy fragmentation due to different climate measures adopted by various countries. The price of carbon For example, there are currently more than 60 different carbon pricing tools in the world. Fragmented and uncoordinated climate measures will undermine the stability and predictability of green businesses and investors, and lead to the emergence of new trade barriers. It is not good for the global climate and international trade.

Walker believes that if the resilience to climate change cannot be mitigated, adapted and built, lives and livelihoods around the world Will suffer devastating losses. In order to avoid this result, there are many urgent tasks to do, including establishing climate-resilient infrastructure, promoting and disseminating clean technologies to decarbonize the supply chain, reducing or even eliminating harmful subsidies, etc. Etc. International trade can provide many solutions to help complete this long list of to-dos. For example, keeping trade open can make climate-friendly goods, services and technologies cheaper and more accessible, thereby reducing countries’ net zero emissions Overall cost. Trade can also connect suppliers with consumers in foreign markets, meet the growing demand for climate-friendly products from these consumers, and help developing countries open up new and growing export opportunities. WTO Members should consider how to strengthen cooperation between all parties, avoid the “lose-lose” and “multiple-lose” situation, and help green enterprises everywhere to grow in the new climate economy.

Incentives should be introduced into the trading system to deal with climate issues

News: In your book, you propose to initiate a new dialogue about risk. From the perspective of risk management, how do you think China and the US should improve their dialogue in the future?

Michelle Walker: I’m very pleased that the United States now has a A president who governs by impulse. Having a president who is more predictable, more rational, and more logical than our previous presidents is very helpful to the relations between the two countries, and to China and the United States.The influence of the relationship direction is also very positive.

There are indeed many risks in the relationship between the two countries. In the past few years, this seems to be getting stronger and stronger. Part of the reason these risks exist is that they are politically beneficial to some people. When internal, political or economic issues arise, these risks can be exaggerated. The polarization in the United States is very serious now, which makes everything more difficult. I wrote in my first book that when the situation is tense in the Dominican Republic and Haiti, the coping strategies of these countries-blaming another country or immigration is a huge political temptation. Because of the pressure of the epidemic and the economic downturn, the U.S. politics and society are very unstable, and it is more susceptible to this temptation. However, for Americans like us who have been in China, we pay more attention to the areas where China can cooperate. For China, it should be fully aware of this and avoid unintentionally pressing the “buttons” in these areas. Having said that, I think President Biden has still taken some steps forward. This is a major positive change from the past 4 years.

News: You pointed out that every country must face its own history, geography, culture, current challenges and risks. Take China and the United States as an example. Although there are differences between the two countries, they must cooperate in global trade. In your opinion, what specific areas of cooperation can the two countries have? At present, climate change and epidemics have brought new risks to global trade. How should China and the United States face the new uncertainty together?

Michelle Walker: The pandemic shows more than many recent events how interdependent the world is. Africa and other developing countries with low vaccination rates are in great need of access to vaccines. There is a lot of debate about opening up intellectual property rights so that these countries can produce their own vaccines. I think this is an area where richer countries can cooperate to help poor countries, including all epidemic-related materials, personal protective equipment, and hospital equipment. These are all countries that should cooperate, and this is very urgent. On the other hand, there can be constructive competition among countries to see which country has the highest vaccination rate. Those who walk in the front should help those behind. Just like some inspirational stories in some competitions, one of the players fell and the other player helped him to cross the finish line. This is the path we should seek.

As far as climate change is concerned, I think there are many new ways to explore in trade. Many years ago, I co-authored a paper with other authors on how to use trade to deal with the climate crisis. We believe that clean technology can be used to create clean energy and resist the climate crisis. In other words, “climate issues” should receive special trade treatment. eachThe governments of all countries should fund clean technologies as much as possible, and exempt the global countervailing rules. According to the results of discussions in the World Trade Organization (WTO) and other international organizations, countries have not reached a consensus on such subsidies. At the same time, I think we should find a way to transfer clean technology to those countries that do not have clean technology. There are also real opportunities for cooperation in this area.

Finally, there is a need to further reduce the carbon emissions of the transportation system. In the past few years, due to geopolitical reasons, there has been a trend of regionalization in international trade. I do not agree with trade protectionism, but at the same time, I think the regionalization of trade is good, because it is a good thing to be able to consume less energy. We should calculate the carbon cost of each type of commodity. Obviously, this is a huge challenge, but I think we should take this into consideration. Trade rules can also be used to provide benefits and incentives for countries with lower carbon intensity per capita GDP and countries that adopt cleaner technologies.

Therefore, I think that incentives can be introduced into the trading system to deal with climate issues, and treat it in a positive way, not a negative way.

News: Is it reasonable for China and the United States to have more cooperation on climate change in the future?

Michelle Walker:Of course. Regardless of the differences between the United States and China, they should be put aside and cooperate on climate change issues, whether through trade or other measures. I think this is an area where we should see constructive competition. What I mean is that economists’ view of competition in an ideal world is that every company is competing to do things in a better and more cost-effective way to benefit consumers—competition should be considered in this sense , Rather than zero-sum competition. For example, tracking the carbon impact of trade and providing higher supply chain incentives for carbon emissions are all very important development opportunities. In addition, it is also very important to provide preferential treatment for clean technology, pay attention to clean technology trade and intellectual property rights, and contribute to the green economy and energy investment. Finally, we should also help poor countries that need electricity. They need electricity to develop. Developed countries should help them develop in a greener way so that they will not get rich due to increased carbon emissions and suffer the same pollution.

WTO needs to re-examine climate issues

News: Looking back at the Sino-US trade relationship, we have gone through many twists and turns. middleIt has been 20 years since China and the United States joined the WTO after long-term negotiations. What experience and lessons has history taught us?

Michelle Walker: Learning from history is very important, but there are also some different new things that need to be adapted. For example, compared with 20 years ago, the ratio of economic activity in the service industry to goods is much higher. Therefore, I think certain areas of the WTO need to be re-examined. Another big area is that standards have become another tool for trade negotiations. In trade disputes, different countries have very different ideas about “security.” Society, Environment and Governance (ESG) has become a very important issue facing global companies. Therefore, the WTO also needs to re-examine the issue of climate issues and subsidies. I think clean technologies should be put on the same level as fossil energy, and certain subsidies should be given. It is even better to increase support for these technologies and reduce support for fossil fuels. This can involve a larger equation about how the climate footprint affects trade relations-in this equation, countries that do better in terms of carbon emissions can be given special incentives.

WTO has undergone great changes in the past few years. The role of the United States in this is more complicated. The United States is an important part of formulating rules, and it also hopes to see that it can promote dialogue. But the world has changed. I think that when countries are in this state of interdependence, the United States should better consider the views of other countries in the world and realize that when other countries live better, the United States can live better. I also hope to see this in trade negotiations, although it seems a bit utopian (too idealistic) and is far from the trends we have seen in recent years. However, if there is no hope, such a vision will never happen. In the future, the WTO can become a force to promote such a vision.

Climate issues are the core and the key to opening the situation

News: China has made many efforts to participate in international trade. However, there are still many issues to be resolved between China and the United States. What are the first issues that need to be addressed?

Michel Walker: Use the “gray rhino” theory as an example: people often think that they can deal with a large gray rhino alone and solve this The problem, however, when a group of “gray rhinos” gather together, you can’t just focus on one of them, because the dynamics of any one will affect the other rhinos. And the current situation is like there are many “gray rhinos” at the same time.It’s hard to deal with.

However, I again believe that climate issues are the core and the key to opening the situation. The more in conflict situations, one can actually find an area where cooperation can be found, making it easier to cooperate on all other issues. I hope that the climate issue can become the key to open the door to the advancement of intellectual property issues. In the United States, there are various voices about China. For China, it is important to understand the difference between the so-called political posture and those behind the scenes who want things to work in a better direction. As far as the United States is concerned, the biggest problem for the United States is how to solve this very difficult period that it is currently going through. Because whenever the situation in the United States is tense, it will affect international relations. The best thing the United States can do is to solve its own problems. If it can be properly resolved, all other international issues will become easier to deal with.

News: You mentioned that the current polarization of American society is very serious. Is this similar to the situation in the 1960s and 1970s?

Michelle Walker:Now it’s more similar to the roaring 1920s 100 years ago. Although current discussions on issues such as war, civil rights, and feminism are similar to those in the 1960s and 1970s, I am more concerned about the state of the financial market. During the Spanish flu pandemic in 1918, it was a world war. Due to the epidemic and war, major countries have implemented a large number of financial stimulus policies. Throughout the 1920s, the stock market bubble caused polarization, and wealth was concentrated on the super-rich. This is very similar to the current situation. Of course, the bubble eventually burst, leading to even worse problems-the Great Depression and World War II. This dynamic really worries me. I talked a lot about my concerns about financial fragility and inequality, which are closely related. I do think that some people in the United States are working hard to solve these problems, but due to the current political and social dynamics, it is difficult to achieve the goal. Due to the democratic system of the United States, the wishes of most Americans are not properly represented by elected officials. Although the issue of polarization in the United States is not as bad as the Sunni and Shiites in Iraq, it is true that a very small number of groups in the United States have disproportionate political power. Many Americans work hard to solve this problem, trying to create a fairer system that allows democracy to function as we were taught in elementary school (even if it doesn’t). This is a huge project.