China's Goals in the G20: Expectation, Strategy and Agenda

CIGI Paper No. 39

August 27, 2014

The G20 has emerged as the lynchpin of China’s involvement in global economic governance. It remains the only economic institutional setting where the country can operate on par with major Western powers. China has a strong interest in maintaining the status of the G20 as the premier forum for economic cooperation, and a vested interest in ensuring that the G20 does not degrade into yet another “talk shop” of multilateral diplomacy. However, the Chinese leadership’s current approach to the G20 is not driven by a desire to position the country as a leading agenda setter. Instead, China’s main policy priority is ensuring that the country is treated as an equal and respected partner. In the near future, China’s agenda in the G20 will continue to focus on financial issues, such as macroeconomic coordination and the reform of the international financial and monetary system; in particular, governance reform at the International Monetary Fund and having the renminbi placed in the special drawing right basket. China understands the advantages the G20 can provide as a platform for advancing these goals. Other agenda items, such as trade, energy, infrastructure investment financing and multilateral institutional financing will likely be given greater emphasis if China does host the G20 summit in 2016.

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About the Author

Xingqiang (Alex) He is a CIGI research fellow. Alex is an expert on China and global economic governance, the Group of Twenty, domestic politics in China and their role in China’s foreign economic policy making, and Canada-China economic relations.