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Commentary: Do not let economic globalization fall victim of pandemic

(Xinhua)    17:00, March 13, 2020

BEIJING, March 13 (Xinhua) -- With more than 118,000 confirmed cases in 114 countries and regions, the global novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak is now officially a pandemic.

At this point, it remains unclear how long the pandemic would last, but its damage to public health and economic activities has been more than evident: Disrupted supply chains, falling trade and weakening demand are sending global markets tumbling and investors fleeing to find safe havens.

In the wake of the latest development, the IMF has projected that global growth in 2020, "under any scenario," will drop below last year's level, which was 2.9 percent.

Alarmingly, the pandemic has not only spread infection and diseases but also stoked up economic isolation and decoupling, as some see the global shock as a result of fragility in the highly interconnected economy and regard scaling back from global operation as the only best solution.

However, though quarantine proves to be medically effective in virus control, it never works the same way with the economy. Now that the virus has spread globally, moving factories elsewhere may backfire.

Viruses know no borders. In fact, the COVID-19 pandemic has come as an alert against deglobalization that all regions must work closer together than ever before. Given the highly contagious nature of the virus, the world will never be at ease if there is still one region left infected.

Similarly, no economy is immune to the global shock that comes along with it. The world's economies today are far too interdependent that simply shifting businesses or investment away would lead nowhere but end up with massive losses.

Economic globalization has come a long way. As a result of productivity advancement and technological progress, it has powered growth in the past decades with increased movement of goods and capital, exchange in science, technology and civilization, as well as interactions among peoples.

Therefore, the fundamental solution to problems or vulnerabilities in economic globalization lies in pushing forward the integration progress and building an inclusive and open world economy, which requires coordination and multilateral governance by all related countries.

On the bright side, the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic could serve to be an opportunity to embrace technological progress that provides new growth drivers to rid the world economy of long-bothering structural issues.

As a case in point, the epidemic has prompted the use of high technologies including big data and 5G technology, as well as new "contactless" services in China. These new economic fronts are expected to facilitate China's future economic structural upgrade as domestic economic activities recover.

The global fight against the COVID-19 pandemic is now at a critical stage, and its victory requires solidarity and cooperation. Likewise, the economic shock shall never be the reason for isolation and unilateralism, but rather a strong push for globalization.

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Liang Jun, Bianji)

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