Diplomatic and Military Affairs

Sarkozy calls for new rules on emerging powers

Updated: 2011-05-28 11:26

By Zhang Haizhou, Zhang Chunyan and Ma Liyao (China Daily)

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DEAUVILLE, France/BEIJING - It is time to impose rules on China and India on issues such as climate change and trade as emerging powers can no longer be classified as poor countries, French President Nicolas Sarkozy said on Thursday.

Emerging economies have now become a third category of countries between the rich and the poor, Sarkozy said during a press conference at the ongoing G8 Summit in the French coastal city, Deauville.

Observers think Sarkozy has exaggerated China's international influence.

"But changed positions of countries should come with changed obligations and rights in compliance," said Zhao Junjie, a Beijing-based senior researcher of European studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

"China's development is unbalanced. Certain areas such as manufacturing and the ability to bear more international responsibilities are developed, while the country's technological innovation and the fragile ecological environment in the vast western areas are poorly developed and need international aid," said Zhao.

Commenting on Sarkozy's remarks, Wang Peiran, a visiting scholar at the Center for Economic Law & Governance at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel in Belgium, said China's international influence has not reached the French leader's expectation.

"Sarkozy's words also mean China's economic development has been recognized, but does the world really understand the huge costs China has paid for its economic achievement?" Wang said. "You can't simply match China's economic development with international influence."

Though it's the world second largest economy ahead of Japan in terms of the total GDP size, China's per capita GDP is only $4,382, ranking it 94th in the world, according to International Monetary Fund statistics from 2010. Japan's per capita GDP, in contrast, is $42,820. Ranking just 56th in the world, or the lowest in the G8, Russia's per capita GDP still reaches $10,437.

In his speech, Sarkozy also noted that emerging countries "still do have considerable poverty".

"They have some real challenges," he added.

The rich, poor and emerging countries will need to "find the right positioning with the right language", Sarkozy said, so that "we can solve issues together".

He raised environmental and trade issues as examples on which emerging powers should be treated differently from poor countries. Sarkozy said "we can't impose to India and China on the rules we have for ourselves. But we think it might not be normal, perhaps, to not impose any rules on them. Can we consider that as normal?"

The World Trade Organization rules have to reflect the realities of poor economies such as African countries, he added. The rise of the BRICs has shown the shift in the world power pattern described in Sarkozy's speech, said Dan Steinbock, director of International Business at the India, China and America Institute, during an address at the European Union Chamber of Commerce.

This year's G8 Summit is due to end on Friday afternoon. Nuclear safety, Internet regulations and the unrest in the Arab world topped Thursday's agenda. The continuing unrest in Africa was high on the agenda on Friday, as heads of state from 10 African nations were scheduled to attend an outreach session. Chairman of the African Union Commission Jean Ping will attend.

He Wei contributed to the story.


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