Two sessions offer a chance to see how China works: Ghanaian ambassador

By Wang Bozun Published: 2020/5/22 0:03:58

Ghanaian Ambassador to China Edward Boateng Photo: courtesy of Ghanaian Embassy in Beijing

The two sessions offer the unique opportunity to see Chinese politics at play on a bigger stage, Ghanaian Ambassador to China Edward Boateng told the Global Times in an exclusive interview, voicing his eagerness to see how the most important annual events for China's economy devise solutions to tackle global issues such as COVID-19 and climate change.

"They provide an insight into the thoughts and perspectives of China's top political actors, a signal for China's global partners and countries it has relations with to predict China's actions, and an opportunity to shape plans and policies," he said.

To Boateng, who has severed as an ambassador in China for three years, "China's two sessions for a decade now have crossed the realm of domestic chatter into international chatter. They have become the meetings or stage to see what China is up to, how it wishes to engage with the world and its timelines for these global engagements and plans."

This year's two sessions, delayed for more than two months due to the novel coronavirus outbreak, kicked off on Thursday.

"My expectations for this year's sessions are to see the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) and the National People's Congress (NPC) come up with a detailed and workable global cooperative framework to tackle issues of global concern such as COVID-19 and climate change," he said.

"I would very much like to see the two sessions focus on new ways of thinking and problem solving, collective and individual responsibility on the state level as well as on the non-state actor level," he noted. 

"Additionally, I would expect the proceedings of this year's two sessions to clearly show China's reinforcement of and commitment in its bilateral and multilateral relations with African countries," said Boateng, who participated in the first Forum on China-Africa Cooperation in 2018.

On January 1, China introduced its new Foreign Investment Law (FIL), aiming to improve China's business environment and provide equal rights for foreign capital in the Chinese market.

"The new FIL, in my opinion, follows China's quest to further open its market and create a level playing ground for competition among both domestic and foreign firms," Boateng said.

"Unfortunately, at this time, not too many Ghanaian companies have offices or subsidiaries in China," he said, urging Ghanaian enterprises to take advantage of the new law to establish a corporate and industrial presence in China.   

"The goal to reassess the concept of wholly owned foreign investment would also contribute a great deal to making it easier to transact business here in China."

Despite China's efforts to improve its business environment, some Western countries including the US have repeatedly urged companies to shift their suppliers or industrial chains away from China.

"It is important to note that China's manufacturing sector has been the hub of global manufacturing for decades because it is competitive and productive. Industries or companies situate their factories in strategic locations with cost and efficiency as the cardinal bases," he pointed out.

"Equally, China needs to reassess its industrialization model if it wishes to keep production lines running [and remain] the manufacturing hub of the global economy," Boateng noted.

"China's market of 1.4 billion people and increasing middle and higher-income groups are still incredibly attractive to most companies and a strong bargaining chip in its favor. Nicknamed 'the world's factory,' China's experience in manufacturing is still relevant to the world and cannot be easily dismantled.  

As COVID-19 casts a heavy cloud over the world economy and poses great risks to health worldwide, Boateng shared his cautious optimism.

"I believe that our world will survive the scourge of the COVID-19 pandemic and that it will eventually make us unite and make us stronger. I see a world of possibilities, a world where nations shall come together more purposefully to fight common and importance causes," he said.

"I am optimistic that after the pandemic, China's market - as well as other markets including that of my country, Ghana - will find its way and gradually build resilience. 

"As my President said in one of his COVID-19 updates and addresses to Ghanaians, 'We know how to rebuild the economy, but we have no idea how to revive lost lives.' Therefore, we fight the pandemic today," he said, "and build the economy tomorrow."

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