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Speeches & TranscriptsDecember 9, 2022

Remarks by World Bank Group President David Malpass at China’s 1+6 Roundtable with Premier Li Keqiang in Anhui– 2022

Good afternoon. Thank you very much to Premier Li for his hospitality.

I want to begin by welcoming the recalibration of China’s testing and quarantine requirements. A reopening that reduces domestic and international disruptions was critical.

We’ve had in-depth conversations over the past two days on the challenging global economic outlook. I’m deeply concerned that the world is at risk of a global recession. It might bring years of slow growth and widespread asset repricing. This is a true long-term crisis facing people in developing countries. Current policies need to do more to lift the world out of stagflation. This depends heavily on production and employment, especially in the world’s largest economies, including China. To help with energy, food, and fertilizer shortages elsewhere, we believe there is also room for China to reduce excess stocks of food and fertilizer.

Russia’s continuation of its war against Ukraine is a major cause of the global crisis. Russia is harming the world, weakening itself, wrecking its own future, and making the Russian people outcasts from the rest of the world.

In our meetings, we discussed in detail the debt crisis that is intensifying in the world’s poorest countries and China’s role and responsibility in initiating and implementing solutions. It is strongly in all our interests to support the goals of growth, trade, investment, and debt transparency in developing countries. I was encouraged by the constructive talks on our launching detailed discussions to tackle barriers in the sovereign debt restructuring system.

Kristalina and I held constructive discussions with some of China’s key external lenders. We discussed the urgency of more rapid progress in the ongoing debt restructuring discussions, including for Zambia. Changes in China’s positions are critical in this effort.

I welcomed the Premier’s support for a systematic engagement on debt. We look forward to China participating actively with us in broader discussions on sovereign debt restructuring. We fully recognized the urgency of helping countries move quickly toward long-term debt sustainability.

We discussed in detail the next steps needed to reconcile debt and improve the transparency of China’s loan contracts, including removal of non-disclosure and non-restructuring clauses and hidden collateral and escrow arrangements. Greater transparency will help investors make informed decisions, build trust, and accelerate the debt reconciliation and restructuring processes.

In our meetings, I was also very encouraged by the Premier’s explanation of China’s commitment to private entities and micro-firms; a more active path of reopening the economy; currency stability as an underpinning of investment; a strong and stable yuan, and discipline on the fiscal deficit and national debt.

The World Bank has very much appreciated Premier Li’s support through his tenure, including substantial increases in China’s contributions to IDA. We look forward to ambitious targets for China’s contribution to IDA in the future.

We discussed China’s energy transition toward lower greenhouse gas emissions following the release of our Country Climate and Development Report for China. Our engagement in China has evolved to a primary focus on global public goods, including marine plastic pollution reduction, environmental protection, and lower-carbon development. I look forward to continuing on this path.

Again, thank you to Premier Li for the warm hospitality.


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