APD | 20th CPC National Congress and outcomes



Author: Ajith D Perera – Former Secretary General /CEO of Federation of Chambers and Commerce and Industry of Sri Lanka, Executive Secretary of APTA Chamber of Commerce in Beijing, Management Consultant and scholar and writer on Trade Agreements.

The 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC) was just concluded in Beijing, setting new goals and aspirations for the nation. The 20th CPC National Congress drew more than 2,200 party delegates from all over the country and also deliberated on the progress of the goals set in the 19th National Congress. China is one of the world’s four oldest civilizations and has been known to exist for over 3,500 years. China is also the world’s oldest continuous civilization. The Chinese language is considered by some as the oldest written language with at least 6,000 years of history. Modern China’s position as No.2 economic power in the world and the world’s largest exporter (USD $ 3.36 trillion in 2021) has a significant influence on the world economy. In this context, the decisions and directives of 20th CPC National Congress play a decisive role in shaping up the future economy of China and the world. The world also observed some disgruntled and western-backed media spread rumors to discredit the Chinese political system. Perhaps China’s position on Russian-Ukraine conflict could be a reason for them to propagate a negative image.

Always remember “A lie can run halfway around the world before the truth has got its boots on.” However, it’s not the first time that such situation has happened even during the pandemic. Western media was active in fabricating unfounded origin of COVID-19 in China which was finally ruled out by the World Health Organization.

Despite this, the 20th CPC National Congress was successfully held, demonstrating political stability, determination and economic aspirations of China. Since the 19th CPC National Congress in 2017, China has achieved many milestones such as tackling the extreme poverty for about two percent of the country’s total population, deal with COVID-19 epidemic, as well as becoming the world’s largest exporter, and etc. The road to these achievements was not a bed of roses. All the key milestones were achieved by overcoming many challenges such as less demand for exports, logistics bottlenecks and frequent lockdowns. The world watched during the pandemic some countries openly asked their production facilities to pull out of China, perhaps to counter China’s shares strategy in the West.

The 20th CPC National Congress has laid the foundation to building China into a modern socialist country by 2049. A key step to completing the goal is to achieve socialist modernization by 2035. In fact, the socialist modernization could be considered as the result of the continues process initiated by Late Deng Xiaoping in 1980s.

The 20th CPC National Congress focused on many important areas such as building a modern socialist nation with the help of all ethnic groups living in China through achieving the second centenary goal and the rejuvenation of Chinese nation, the country’s reunification, its commitment to openness and adopting mutually beneficial strategy that will give benefits to China itself and build a vibrant global economy. The national congress also regards anti-corruption as a kind of self-reform. In fact, China has many credible evidences in fighting corruption and taking firm actions against bureaucracy and its own party officials. These statements were reaffirmed by Xi Jinping while addressing the 20th CPC National Congress, who also mentioned the pillars of process of socialization, namely common prosperity for all and material, ethnic, cultural, and ecological advancement. Out of four pillars in the policy statement inclusion of ecological advancement is a positive news to the environmentalists all over the world and the initiators of the Paris Agreement. In other way, it’s a clear indication that China is serious about its aim of reaching net-zero emission by 2060. This dramatic turn and gigantic efforts come from China, which is the top emitter of carbon dioxide gas (1,668 million metric tons in 2020). This will require trillions of dollars to be invested in green and low-carbon industries, which is China’s transition path and shows the political wisdom and courage of the CPC leadership.

In an era of unprecedented and non-ending global challenges, the political stability, prosperity of China and its great engineering and financial capacity offer much hope for developing countries. The latest statistics available have shown that China is the single largest contributor (18.56% in 2021 ), other than EU trade block, to the world GDP. Despite the differences between China and the West, China received USD 118 billion investments in 2021.

Furthermore, poorer nations in the Global South can thrive from China’s win-win opportunities such as the Belt and Road Initiative, which, according to the World Bank’s prediction, will reduce poverty for nearly 40 million people worldwide through its transportation projects alone. The global media also gave a wide publicity on CPC’s 20th National Congress due to increased global interest, which is a clear reflection of the changing world order mainly due to the post-pandemic economic crisis and Russia-Ukraine conflict, and etc. Many Asian and African countries are either facing economic issues or already on lookout for solutions for food and energy issues that is likely to arise in the future. Despite political and trade issues between China and US, the former’s trade relations with the latter reached a record of over $750 billion in 2021, a 28.7-percent increase from the previous year. Bilateral trade cooperation between the two countries added 2.6 million jobs in the U.S.

The delegates to the 20th CPC National Congress examined the report of the 19th CPC Central Committee and appointed the CPC Central Commission for Discipline Inspection and adopted an amendment to the CPC Constitution. The constitutional amendments focused on the core position of Xi Jingping in the CPC central committee and the inclusion of a clause on Taiwan question.

Inclusion of a clause on Taiwan question has already drawn the attention of the Taiwan authority and probably may add new dimension to the diplomatic raw between the mainland and Taiwan. However, Party spokesman Sun Yeli’s remarks at the end of the 20th CPC National Congress should dispel any immediate escalation of the conflict. He emphasized that "We are willing to continue working with the greatest sincerity and exerting our utmost efforts to achieve peaceful reunification. Since 1971, the UN recognized the government of the People’s Republic of China as the only legitimate representative of China under the UN resolution 2758 and Taiwan is classified as only a territory. Despite the diplomatic raw, a Free Trade Agreement (Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement) was signed between the mainland and Taiwan in 2010. As of now, China has become Taiwan’s number one trading partner (accounting for 25.2 percent of its total trade). Goods and services worth US $ 166 billion were exchanged between them. Taiwan is also one of the top investors for the mainland.

China plays a pivotal role in the development of trade especially in the Asia Pacific region. China’s signing the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) offered hope to signatories including least developed countries like Laos, Myanmar and other developing countries like Philippines. In fact, China can invest in systems upgrading in these countries and to make their products more competitive among RCEP countries. China also can improve the tariff offer and demolish Non-tariff Measures (NTM’s) under the APTA (Asia Pacific Trade Agreement) to promote trade among APTA countries which include smaller and vulnerable economies such as Sri Lanka, Laos and Mongolia. China can invest in systems upgrading in these countries to ensure smooth and efficient exchanges of goods among APTA countries.