‘Need to redefine rules’ when China, India join world trading system

NATIONS will have to redefine the rules of international economic relations when China and India integrate into the global economy.

“With their entry, it will probably be the last time that the rules of the world economy will be determined by the Western industrial powers. These two countries will have a big say,” said Mr Jorgen Orstrom Moller, the State Secretary of Denmark’s Foreign Ministry on Friday.

With a combined population of more than two billion people, it would be difficult for the rest of the world to ignore what Beijing and New Delhi had to say on economic issues, he said.

Mr Moller was replying to a question after his talk on Europe And Asia: A Danish Perspective organised by the Institute of Policy Studies (IPS).

He said that India would find it easier than China to integrate into the world economy.

“India has not lived in a civilisation where they have seen the rest of the world come to them. But Beijing has always looked at the world as if the world approaches China,” he said.

For the first time in its history, China had come to a point where it had to “approach the world” to derive the benefits of economic intercourse. While this should be seen in a positive light, countries had to be “very cautious and careful” of Beijing’s integration, he said.

“We will have to see whether China can make a turnaround and whether the world can accommodate Beijing.”

The world had to set conditions for China to take part in the international economy, Mr Moller said.

It was “unavoidable”, for example, that trade was linked to China’s human-rights record, the State Secretary told the 100 diplomats and businessmen who attended his talk at the Pinetree Town and Country Club.

While countries had different philosophies and cultures, entering the world trading system required that all states adhere to the same rules.

In his talk, Mr Moller said that the Anglo-Saxon culture was no longer recognised as universal in its appeal. “Its apparent monopoly of ideas and norms are being questioned.”

IPS director Tommy Koh, in his closing remarks, said that while East Asian economies were growing rapidly and experiencing a cultural renaissance, countries in the region were looking outward rather than inward.

He said: “Our aspiration for the future is that we will live together in one world and not three worlds – the European Union, the Nafta and an East Asian bloc.”

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