China, France release joint declaration on AI governance

AI Photo: VCG

AI Photo: VCG

China and France released on Monday Paris time a joint declaration on artificial intelligence (AI) and global governance during Chinese President Xi Jinping’s state visit to France, the Xinhua News Agency reported on Tuesday. 

Experts said that the joint declaration will pave the way for practical cooperation, and serve as a model for enhancing AI exchanges and partnerships between China and other European countries. 

Signing the declaration is also seen as a challenge to US dominance in the field of AI, highlighting the limitations of hegemonic ambitions in the fast-evolving AI landscape. The era of the US attempting to assert AI global dominance is deemed unsustainable, experts said.

The declaration noted that President Xi and French President Emmanuel Macron firmly believe in the importance of continued dialogue to provide lasting solutions to global challenges. One of the highlights of the declaration is that China and France are committed to taking effective measures to address risks associated with this technology.

Both countries are also on the same page about the basic rules for AI governance. They agreed to take into account the flexibility required for the rapid development of technology, while providing necessary protection for personal data, the rights of users and the rights of users whose work is used by AI. They also committed to promoting secure, reliable and trustworthy AI systems, adhering to the principle of “AI for good.”

Zeng Yi, a professor of AI at the Chinese Academy of Sciences and also an expert of the UN Secretary-General’s Advisory Body on AI, told the Global Times on Tuesday that this consensus reflects the alignment of both parties on issues including ethics, security and the governance of AI at a fundamental level, laying the foundation for pragmatic and in-depth cooperation between the two countries in the field of AI governance.

Cooperation between China and France can drive collaboration in the field of AI between China and Europe as a whole, Liu Wei, director of the human-machine interaction and cognitive engineering laboratory at the Beijing University of Posts and Telecommunications, told the Global Times on Tuesday. 

Liu Wei said both sides have great potential in working together on research into the development and application of AI technology, as well as laws and regulations.

Liu Baocheng, director of the Center for International Business Ethics of the University of International Business and Economics, told the Global Times that both sides have significant complementary relationships in this field. Also, China’s rapid development of new quality productive forces presents an opportunity for France to participate in China’s development.

The next step will involve greater participation by research institutions and businesses to ensure the true implementation of the declaration Liu Baocheng noted.

Through closer AI governance cooperation, both sides can systematically share more solutions to address risks, such as privacy breaches and the lack of an effective ethical AI security framework, thereby minimizing and avoiding common risks and challenges facing all of humanity, Zeng said.

Another keyword mentioned in the declaration is “cooperation.” It said that international cooperation in AI governance will rely on work conducted at the UN level, and China and France will help strengthen the network capabilities of all countries, especially developing countries, to address network threats related to AI development and bridge the digital divide among developing countries.

The joint declaration between China and France conveyed an image of responsible major powers to the world, presenting an overall approach to global AI governance, Liu Baocheng said. 

Zeng said the declaration is in line with China’s Global AI Governance Initiative, and the signing of the declaration is also one of the representative efforts China has made at the specific implementation level as a responsible AI power, after having proposed the initiative.

Regarding the idea of China-France cooperation to counter the “AI hegemony” of the US, Liu Baocheng said that in the field of AI, the US has been seeking to dominate the global rules system. However, the reality is that each country has its own strengths, and the hegemonic mind-set of the US is unlikely to be realistically delivered. The attempt by the US to rule the world with AI is a thing that is not sustainable, he noted. 

Foreigners zoom into Chinese tourism market during May Day holidays

Foreign tourists visit a Zhangjiajie scenic spot in Central China's Hunan Province on May 4, 2024. Photo: VCG

Foreign tourists visit a Zhangjiajie scenic spot in Central China’s Hunan Province on May 4, 2024. Photo: VCG

As the five-day May Day holidays came to an end on Sunday, China welcomed a bustling inbound tourism sector thanks to the country’s cost-effective tour products as well as improved measures for foreign visitors, including visa-free policies and optimized payment services.

Experts said that booming tourism during the May Day holidays confirmed the attractiveness of the Chinese market for overseas travelers, and the improving environment for foreigners further showcased the country’s commitment to opening-up.

According to a report sent to the Global Times on Sunday, Trip.com said that inbound tour bookings increased by 105 percent year-on-year with the remarkable effect of the visa-free policies. 

Tourists from the 12 countries for which China unilaterally waived visas, along with Singapore and Thailand, which have mutual visa exemptions with China, increased by about 2.5 times year-on-year, read the report. Among Chinese provincial capital cities, inbound tour orders grew faster in Urumqi, Xi’an, Hangzhou, Kunming, Hefei and Chengdu.

Walking on the street, people could see UK tourists wearing traditional Chinese hanfu for travel photos at Beijing’s Temple of Heaven. In Dongxing, South China’s Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, Vietnamese tourists took a bus to visit the cultural bazaar, enjoying a different journey involving China-Vietnam border customs.

“During a trip with my friends, I took a leisurely stroll around Jinhai Lake in the Pinggu district of Beijing. It was a breathtaking experience, immersed in the natural beauty of China. Green spaces surrounded the lake, and fresh breezes filled the air, creating a serene atmosphere,” Ahmed Abdellah Faris, a journalist from Egypt, told the Global Times on Sunday.

China’s mobile payment system is extremely convenient, with WeChat Pay and Alipay offering both ease of use and security. Additionally, Beijing, as an international metropolis, widely accepts Visa payments, providing numerous options for foreigners, he added.

“I also appreciate Beijing’s subway system, which is extensive and affordable, with most trains maintained in a clean condition. Subway staff members readily provided directions in English, museum guides offered high-quality English explanations, and restaurant owners inquired whether we followed Muslim dietary restrictions. These thoughtful details made me feel warmly welcome in Beijing,” he said.

The development of inbound tourism not only serves as a symbol of China’s opening-up, but also marks the country’s transition from being a major tourist destination to becoming a power in the global tourism arena, Jiang Yiyi, a vice president of the School of Leisure Sports and Tourism at Beijing Sport University, told the Global Times on Sunday.

In addition to visa-free measures and an array of measures to help foreigners enjoy a hassle-free payment environment, the restoration of international flights is progressing steadily. 

“In the first half of this year, I believe that the country has resumed more than 80 percent of the international routes, compared with pre-pandemic levels,” Jiang said.

Outbound trips were also in the spotlight. According to Trip.com, Chinese outbound tours covered nearly 200 countries during these five days, with Southeast Asia, Japan and South Korea becoming popular destinations. 

The tourism growth rate for countries in the Middle East such as Oman, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait was higher, with a year-on-year increase of more than three times.

On Saturday, the Cuban government announced that it will adopt a visa-free policy for Chinese citizens holding ordinary passports starting from May, the Xinhua News Agency reported on Sunday.

“China has been one of the world’s biggest outbound tourism markets, making a substantial contribution to global tourism development, particularly in the post-pandemic recovery period. Outbound tourism has played a significant role in promoting economic development and offering job opportunities in many countries,” Jiang said.

Steven Alan Barnett, senior IMF resident representative in China, said on April 24 at the launch of the IMF World Economic Outlook in Beijing that China will continue to be the main driver of the global economy, contributing one-quarter to the world’s GDP. 

Suhail Al Mazrouei underscores UAE’s commitment to balancing economic development, environmental protection at World Economic Forum

Suhail bin Mohammed Al Mazrouei, Minister of Energy and Infrastructure, underscored that the UAE’s approach to climate action is underpinned by striking balance between economic development and environmental protection through leveraging low-carbon energy solutions.

The Minister made this statement at the “Green Molecules and Hydrogen” session as part of the World Economic Forum, being hosted by the Saudi capital city, Riyadh, under the theme “Global Collaboration, Growth, and Energy for Development”.

He said, “In 2023, the UAE unveiled its National Hydrogen Strategy 2050 to bolster low-carbon industries, advance climate neutrality, and position the nation as a leading hydrogen producer by 2031. The UAE targets to produce 1.4 million tons of low-emission hydrogen annually by 2031 and 15 million tons annually by 2050.”

Al Mazrouei set out key enablers in the green molecules business, including global collaboration, policy and regulation, financing and investment, R&D and advanced technology, and sustainable commercial and economic models.

Moreover, the Minister participated in a session on the “Roadmap to Tripling Renewables”, where he outlined the key bottlenecks hindering rapid renewable deployment in emerging markets to be regulatory barriers, innovative financing, and digitalization and innovative solutions.

Reflecting on the UAE’s journey in deploying renewables, Al Mazrouei said, “The UAE’s approach to increasing the deployment of renewables is remarkable. Between 2019 and 2022, the UAE successfully doubled its renewables capacity, and by 2023, we witnessed a 70% growth in installed renewables capacity, which reached 6 GW.”

He added, “These achievements were made possible through the translation of our national net-zero goal into actionable policies. We are working in a bottom-up approach with the engagement of all segments of the community, private sector, academia, and youth.”

The Minister highlighted the importance of global partnership and collaboration to facilitate technology transfer, investment, and financing from developed countries and international financial institutions, provide policy support, capacity-building programmes, and infrastructure development assistance, while promoting knowledge sharing among stakeholders and helping mitigate risks associated with renewable energy projects, enhancing investor confidence and accelerating the transition to sustainable energy systems in emerging markets.

He said, “The UAE is a major global investor in renewables. It allocated AED200 billion to investments in clean energy projects locally until 2030, having invested AED160 billion so far. Moreover, the UAE invested AED185 billion in renewables projects in over 40 countries. Our flagship renewables company, Masdar, has made substantial renewable energy investments across the world, with a total capacity of 20 GW installed or under development. By 2030, Masdar aims to grow its global renewables capacity to 100 GW.”

RISC-V chip tech curb on China ‘to harm US firms’

A chip manufacture machine Photo: VCG

A chip manufacture machine Photo: VCG

The US is reportedly working to review the potential risks of RISC-V chip technology being used by major Chinese technology companies, which is seen as a new front of the expanding technology war initiated by the US that aims to curb China’s development in the sector.

Observers said that the US will find it difficult to restrict China on RISC-V technology and that if it does so, US companies could bear huge losses and the global supply chain could be affected.

The US Department of Commerce is reviewing the national security implications of China’s work in open-source RISC-V chip technology, Reuters reported on Tuesday, citing a letter the department sent to US lawmakers.

Any restrictions could set off a chain reaction and create uncertainty for the initiators themselves, Zhang Xiaorong, director of the Beijing-based Cutting-Edge Technology Research Institute, told the Global Times on Wednesday.

“As an open-source technology, RISC-V is widely used in the design of the Internet of Things. China’s contribution to the technology is strong,” said Zhang.

According to Reuters, the US Commerce Department letter said that it is “working to review potential risks and assess whether there are appropriate actions under Commerce authorities that could effectively address any potential concerns.” 

But the Commerce Department also noted that it would need to tread carefully to avoid harming US companies that are part of international groups working on RISC-V technology. Previous controls on transferring 5G technology to China created roadblocks for US firms working in international standards bodies where China was also a participant, risking US leadership in the field, according to Reuters.

Analysts said that the letter shows that the US action is about technology dominance, not open-source development.

RISC-V, pronounced as “risk five,” is a set of basic instructions that tell a chip how to perform a computing task. It provides a common language for designing processors used in devices such as smartphones, disk drives, Wi-Fi routers and tablets, according to RISC-V International, a non-profit managing RISC-V technology.

Since RISC-V is an open-source technology, if the US imposes restrictions, it will slow down the global development of the technology, Ma Jihua, a veteran telecom industry observer, told the Global Times on Wednesday. 

If the US imposes restrictions, it may only restrict American companies that do RISC-V research and development and production from cooperating with Chinese companies, Ma said.

“It’s similar to … when the US sanctioned Huawei [and] American companies weren’t allowed to participate in international conferences or organizations where Huawei was present. However, the ban was eventually revised because Huawei was seen as more important to many international organizations than some American companies,” said Ma, and it will be the same with RISC-V technology.

Controlling China’s access to RISC-V technology, however, is easier said than done, said an analysis published by the Center for Security and Emerging Technology (CSET), a policy research organization within Georgetown University, in January.

RISC-V International moved its headquarters from the US to Switzerland in March 2020 in part to insulate itself from the creeping influence of geopolitics on the chip industry. This move severely limits the US government’s regulatory options, according to CSET.

Consultancy expert: China’s economy to have steady recovery

China’s economy showed signs of stabilization at the beginning of the year, laying the foundation for a steady recovery throughout the year, said Ben Simpfendorfer, a partner at consultancy Oliver Wyman.

“I think the economy is stabilizing,” Simpfendorfer said in an exclusive interview with China Daily. “The foundations are there for recovery.” While China’s growth target of around 5 percent for this year seems challenging, Simpfendorfer said he believes the goal is “still achievable if the real estate sector begins to stabilize”.

Dismissing the speculation that China’s economy is showing signs of peaking, he said the “long-term growth prospects still look very good”.

“China hasn’t peaked. It’s evolving,” he added. “The country will remain a global manufacturing hub and a global innovation hub. China matters for the global business and the global economy. There isn’t another China out there at this point.”

China enters ‘show’ time, demonstrating resolve on opening-up

Photo: Qi Xijia/GT

Visitors at the Hainan Pavilion at CICPE Photo: Qi Xijia/GT

Following intensive visits to China by foreign CEOs in March, China has entered a week of international trade exhibitions. This highlights the potential of China’s dynamic consumer market and the country’s unswerving commitment to opening-up.

Chinese officials have taken the opportunity to drive home the point that the door to China’s opening-up will only get wider, and representatives from leading multinationals told the Global Times that they are optimistic about the development of the Chinese consumer market, which is set to drive their revenue growth and instill new positivity into the global economy.

The 4th China International Consumer Products Expo (CICPE), Asia’s largest premium consumer products expo, began on Saturday in South China’s Hainan Province.

The six-day event, which lasts through April 18, will host more than 4,000 brands from 71 countries and regions to showcase their products for global consumers. More than 55,000 purchasers and professional buyers are expected to attend the event, with more than 300 brands launching about 1,000 new products during the expo.

In tandem with the CICPE, the Spring session of the China Import and Export Fair, or Canton Fair, will be held from Monday to May 5 in Guangzhou, South China’s Guangdong Province. A total of 137,000 buyers from 215 countries and regions have completed pre-registration for the mega trade show, according to China’s Ministry of Commerce.

The week of trade expos comes as the Chinese economy began the year on a solid footing, with some major international financial institutions raising their Chinese GDP projections for 2024. The resilience of the world’s second-largest economy and the attractiveness of its vast consumer market and manufacturing products offer a strong rebuttal to some Western media outlets’ hype about the Chinese economy reaching its peak, analysts said.

The international trade exhibitions allow the world to further identify and trust the China market and its economic prosperity, and also demonstrate the status of China’s economy, which plays a spearhead role in the world economy amid a complex global political environment, Cao Heping, an economist at Peking University, told the Global Times on Sunday.

Cao said that the observations and impressions of the investors who participate in the two trade shows will be conveyed abroad and boost confidence in the global market.

These overseas investors gain valuable firsthand information on China’s investment potential from these interactions, and they will be noticing the advantages of the China market in the unstable global political and economic environment, Cao noted.

Goldman Sachs and Citi recently released separate reports stating that China’s economy had gotten off to a good start in 2024. It is expected that the GDP growth target of “about 5 percent” set by the Chinese government can be achieved, and the forecast for China’s GDP growth rate for the full year has been raised, according to the Xinhua News Agency.

“The current wave of a backlash against economic globalization may be challenging, but the world will never return to a state of isolation. China will always be an important opportunity for global development. The door to China’s opening-up will only get wider,” said Peng Qinghua, vice chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress, said in welcoming remarks for the CICPE on Saturday.

“The Chinese economy is resilient, dynamic and full of potential, and its strong long-term outlook remains unchanged,” Sheng Qiuping, Chinese vice minister of commerce, said in remarks on Saturday.

To many exhibitors, the CICPE, the first major international exhibition held in China so far this year, offers opportunities for global companies to explore the massive market in China.

“Expos such as the CICPE are wonderful opportunities to promote Ireland and what it has to offer, and they are excellent platforms for Irish companies to introduce themselves to Chinese consumers. Quite a few Irish companies return again and again to these expos,” Ambassador of Ireland to China Ann Derwin told the Global Times in an exclusive interview.

Ireland, the country of honor for the CICPE with a dedicated exhibition venue, aims to show its scientific and technological innovation, education, investment, tourism and culture.

With a population of 1.4 billion and a 400 million strong middle class, China has a per capita GDP exceeding $12,000, making it one of the most promising consumer markets in the world, analysts said.

Representatives of leading multinationals told the Global Times that they are optimistic about the development of the Chinese consumer market, which is set to drive their revenue growth and instill new positivity into the global economy.

Volkswagen Group China (VGC) demonstrated its commitment to Chinese customers with a spectacular lineup of 13 models at the CICPE.

“Building on our existing successful partnership with Hainan Province, and riding on the tremendous opportunities presented by the Hainan Free Trade Port, Volkswagen Group China is committed to contributing to the e-mobility and green development of Hainan,” Zhang Lan, VGC vice president of sales and marketing, told the Global Times on Saturday.

Since the beginning of 2024, China has accelerated its pace of opening-up, with the announcement of the 24-point measures to stabilize foreign investment and a range of visa exemption policies to facilitate business travel.

Efforts are also being strengthened to boost consumption by promoting equipment upgrades and consumer goods trade-ins, bringing new opportunities for foreign companies.

Jack Chan, EY China chairman, told the Global Times on Saturday that China is an important engine for global economic growth for all sorts of businesses, and China’s continued efforts to open up will provide more “motivation” for investors to tap into this massive market.

“We believe that the foreign investment performance in China this year will maintain a high-quality development trend,” Chan said. “We look forward to enhanced foreign investment in high-tech industries, the digital economy and sustainable development.” 

Retail sales in the first two months of 2024 hit 8.13 trillion yuan ($1.14 trillion), increasing 5.5 percent year-on-year, according to the National Bureau of Statistics.

China is due to report its first-quarter growth data this week.

GT Voice: China remains safe haven amid fears of US rate cut

Illustration: Chen Xia/GT

Illustration: Chen Xia/GT

The world’s gold market is experiencing an unprecedented surge as prices soar to record highs, propelled by increasing bets for US monetary easing and gold’s appeal as a safe haven asset. The frenzy in safe haven assets reflects rising uncertainty in the global market and anxiety shared by investors. Such worries should by no means be underestimated. 

Financial risks have increased as the resilience of the global financial system has been tested by multiple factors, such as unsustainable levels of debt, geopolitical confrontation, and a new era of low growth, low global investment and de-globalization. Some analysts believe these are converging to shape a unique uncertain and turbulent decade to come.

One of the most significant factors affecting the resilience of the global financial system are growing bets for a US interest rate cut. Many believe the US Federal Reserve is not very far from gaining the confidence it needs to begin cutting interest rates.

Since March 2022, the Fed has hiked its benchmark interest rate from near zero to a 23-year high of 5.25-5.5 percent to tame inflation. The Fed’s interest rate increases have a ripple effect throughout the rest of the world, with developing countries bearing the brunt.

The memory of turmoil caused by the US interest rate hike cycle is still fresh for many people. At that time, a strong US dollar forced some countries to engage in competitive devaluation. Currently, the financial system is vulnerable. At the moment, it will be a second blow to the global financial markets if the US reverses the process of rate hikes and enters into a rate-cut cycle.

History tells us that US monetary easing is always one of the factors when it comes to global financial crises. Now, the situation becomes even worse, as some long-term and short-term problems are intertwined, and multiple risk factors are piling up.

With that as a backdrop, safe haven assets such as gold are sought after by investors, and the gold price continues its historic run. As reported by the Xinhua News Agency, the benchmark price for gold that is 99.95 percent pure or above stood at 529.86 yuan ($75) per gram on Monday, up 13.86 yuan from the previous trading day.

International gold prices continued their rally on Monday, reaching another record high, driven by expectations of a US interest rate cut and the metal’s reputation as a safe haven asset. Spot gold increased by 0.6 percent to trade at $2,245.79 per ounce, as reported by CNBC. Prices could rise to $2,300 per ounce in the second half of 2024, especially against the backdrop of expectations that the US Fed could cut rates in the second half of 2024, CNBC reported on March 20.

The continuous rise of gold prices reflects people’s anxiety and even panic toward the risks surrounding the global financial system, as well as a vote of no-confidence in US dollar-denominated assets.

International demand for US dollars and dollar-denominated assets associated with the dollar’s status as an international currency is greatly affected by multiple factors like the irresponsible monetary policy of the US.

We don’t know when the Fed will choose to cut interest rates, but we should be prepared for a rate cut cycle and financial risks it may cause.

In recent years, China has insisted on implementing a steady monetary policy, leaving sufficient policy space and tools in reserve to cope with new challenges and unexpected changes. The country’s foreign exchange market has become more resilient. It is the resilient Chinese economy that gives us more confidence in the face of external challenges. 

Challenge and opportunity are always two sides of the same coin. A rate cut by the Fed may raise fears of continued capital outflows from the US as lower interest rates mean a lower return rate on investment in US dollar-denominated assets. Some analysts believe China may become a destination for international capital inflows, because the yuan has remained relatively stable compared with other currencies, especially emerging market currencies.

Regardless of when the US gains enough confidence that inflation is under control and cuts interest rates in 2024, China has various tools to use to ensure financial stability. Its foreign exchange market is expected to maintain a relatively stable performance as the economy is on an upward trend. With increasing uncertainty in the global financial market, China can become a safe haven for international capital.

Alternative Asian supply chain to replace China not feasible, experts at Boao say

This photo taken on March 25, 2024 shows the Boao Forum for Asia (BFA) International Conference Center in Boao, South China's Hainan Province, is ready for the upcoming forum. The BFA Annual Conference 2024 will be held from March 26 to 29 in Boao, focusing on how the international community can work together to deal with common challenges and shoulder their responsibilities. Photo: cnsphoto

This photo taken on March 25, 2024 shows the Boao Forum for Asia (BFA) International Conference Center in Boao, South China’s Hainan Province, is ready for the upcoming forum. The BFA Annual Conference 2024 will be held from March 26 to 29 in Boao, focusing on how the international community can work together to deal with common challenges and shoulder their responsibilities. Photo: cnsphoto

An alternative Asian supply chain to replace China, as some Western media outlets have suggested, is not feasible, said an author of a report released on Tuesday by the Boao Forum for Asia (BFA), which convened its 2024 conference in Boao, a resort town in South China’s Hainan Province.

According to the forum’s Asian Economic Outlook and Integration Progress flagship report, China maintains its position as a regional hub in the global value chain, despite increasing risks in global trade and investment.

Lin Guijun, former vice president of the University of International Business and Economics, also an author of the report, told the Global Times on Tuesday that although there have been some changes in the global value chain and supply chain, it is not feasible to establish an alternative supply chain that can replace China’s status in Asia.

The Economist, a UK-based magazine, recently came up with an idea Altasia, a shorthand for the alternative Asian supply chain, which it believed had the potential to provide alternatives to China’s supply chains in the coming years.

Lin noted that there have been some shifts in industrial chains, but the overall volume is small. 

Despite the changes, China maintains its dominant position in intermediate goods trade in Asia, with 20 of the 22 largest component products still being led by China, Lin said, citing the report. Additionally, there has been a significant increase in trade volumes of telecommunications components, batteries, and electrical machinery centering around China in recent years, Lin added.

“It will be difficult for other countries to replace China’s leading position,” Lin said.

As China’s industrial system is undergoing a transformation and upgrading, there is a need to relocate some labor-intensive processes or industries overseas, to optimize resource allocation, Hu Qimu, a deputy secretary-general of the digital-real economies integration Forum 50, told the Global Times on Tuesday.

However, in terms of high-end industrial chains, especially those related to the digital economy, many countries may not have the necessary infrastructure, such as internet connectivity, that China possesses. This is the key factor that makes China irreplaceable in this aspect, Hu said.

The report pointed out that the global reliance on China’s value chain in 2022 remained higher than in 2019, underscoring the competitiveness of Chinese factories.

The report also pointed out that China and ASEAN retain central positions in the Asian trade of goods, with China’s export competitiveness evident in its growing trade with other Asia-Pacific economies.

China’s foreign trade got off to robust start in the first two months of 2024, expanding 8.7 percent after achieving 0.2 percent growth in 2023, a “hard-won achievement” amid headwinds.

Zhou Shixin, a research fellow at the Shanghai Institutes for International Studies, told the Global Times on Tuesday that China – as the second largest-economy in the world – plays a crucial role in the global supply chain network.

“Due to its deep integration into the global economy, it is not easy for any country to completely strip out China from the global supply chain. Similarly, China also relies on the integrity and stability of the global supply chain for its own economic development,” Zhou said.

The Asian economy is expected to grow by around 4.5 percent in 2024, surpassing the level of 2023, and remain the largest contributor to global economic growth, according to the report.

The accelerated development of digital trade, the recovery of tourism in Asia, continuous progress in economic and trade arrangements such as the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, and the positive effects of the restructuring of Asian value and industrial chains on regional economic integration, are expected to gradually emerge and add new impetus to Asian trade and investment.

Trade with China mainly settled in yuan, rubles: Russian deputy PM

Aerial photo taken on Feb. 21, 2021 shows the first China-Europe freight train linking St. Petersburg of Russia with Chengdu departing the Chengdu International Railway Port in Chengdu, southwest China's Sichuan Province. Photo: Xinhua

Aerial photo taken on February 21, 2021 shows the first China-Europe freight train linking St. Petersburg of Russia with Chengdu departing the Chengdu International Railway Port in Chengdu, Southwest China’s Sichuan Province. Photo: Xinhua

About 92 percent of trade settlement between Russia and China is now conducted in Russian rubles and Chinese yuan, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Alexei Overchuk said on Wednesday at the ongoing Boao Forum for Asia in South China’s Hainan Province.

He also said that Russia hopes to strengthen financial ties with other countries to replace the US dollar in the international arena in the future, in a bid to ensure the stability and security of local currencies.

Overchuk’s remarks came amid growing emphasis by both sides on trade in local currency and de-dollarization efforts in a bid to reduce risks and costs. In July 2023, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced at the 23rd Meeting of the Council of Heads of State of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization that over 80 percent of trade settlement between Russia and China was conducted in Russian rubles and Chinese yuan, according to media reports.

Bilateral trade between China and Russia continues to show upward momentum, reaching $240.1 billion in 2023, up 26.3 percent from a year earlier. The figure was over $190 billion in 2022, with energy taking the key share.

China-Russia relations are a model of relations between major powers. When talking about the relationship between Russia and China, Overchuk emphasized that the dynamic and stable relationship between the two countries is based on mutual respect, equality, and years of profound historical exchanges between the two governments. Russia will continue to promote the growth of trade between the two countries and advance new interconnection projects, he said.

One of the prominent changes over the past 50 years has been the rise of the Global South, Overchuk said while addressing a sub-forum titled “The Rise of the Global South.” Faced with increasing global uncertainty, countries from the Global South should strengthen cooperation and unite to meet challenges, he said.

Overchuk also pointed out Russia’s willingness to strengthen cooperation with countries in the Global South in the field of cross-border trade and transportation infrastructure construction, saying that Russia hopes to expand market access and push for the building of international transportation corridors.

“We are currently seeing signs of anti-globalization and rising trade fragmentation in global markets, which requires us to strengthen cooperation and connections with our neighboring countries,” said Overchuk.

2024 marks the 75th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Russia. The determination of China and Russia to work together hand in hand is even stronger, the foundation of generational friendship is more solid, and the prospects for comprehensive cooperation are even broader, Zhang Hanhui, the Chinese Ambassador to Russia, said in an interview with Tass on March 21.