Global Eyes on China|Roberto Azevedo: Shenzhen is a huge international hub of innovation

全球财经连线杨雨莱,陈思琦 2024-03-08 22:30

南方财经全媒体记者 杨雨莱 陈思琦 深圳报道

New productive forces is a buzzword during China's Two Sessions 2024, emphasizing the key role of innovation. In the past several years, Shenzhen has been famous for innovations. Roberto Azevedo, former director-general of the WTO, echoed,“It's a huge international hub of innovation, technology and manufacturing.” 

He added, “It's truly impressive. And I think it's only going to grow more and more as China connects more globally.”

Acoording to the Government Work Report, to pursue higher-standard opening up and promote mutual benefits, China will promote alignment with high-standard international economic and trade rules, and steadily expand institutional opening up.

The Shenzhen Court of International Arbitration (SCIA) is an excellent exmaple of purising higher-standard opening up. 

Azevedo said, the world needs dispute settlement mechanisms that are effective, fast, unbiased, impartial, and also multicultural. The SCIA attracted him for having a high level of internationalization.

He pointed out, the SCIA will not be a regional body, but be a truly international and global body.

SFC Markets and Finance: What’s your first impression on Shenzhen after the visit?

Roberto Azevedo: I'm very honored actually to have been invited to be a member of the council. This is my first time in Shenzhen, which is, I have to say a very novel experience because I'm impressed at everything that I have seen so far. It's a huge international hub of innovation, technology, and manufacturing. So, it's not surprising that you have the Shenzhen Court of International Arbitration here, so dynamic, very international and seeking to connect with the world. For me, it's a very interesting experience. And I'm very well impressed by the search for excellence and the search for international connection. The two things are absolutely critical for the success of the SCIA.

SFC Markets and Finance: Could you share with us the reason for you to join the SCIA?

Roberto Azevedo: When I was invited to be a member of the council, I considered many things and one of them was the state of the world today. The world today lives through a number of disruptive phenomena. For example, the new digital age, which is the 21st century basically, we have the climate and the environmental agenda, which is also very robust at this point. Why is that important? That is important because you don't really have updated international rules to handle these things. There is no forum. There is no body of agreements or treaties that give you direction on how to handle disputes on the digital economy or on how to handle disputes with the climate agenda and many others as well.

So, the world needs dispute settlement mechanisms which are effective, which are fast, which are unbiased and impartial and which are multicultural. And I think that this gap that we see in the world today because the multilateral institutions are not really equipped to handle these things. This stability will have to come from bodies like the SCIA, international ports of arbitration that provide predictability and stability in commercial relations.

SFC Markets and Finance: Why did you choose to join the SCIA instead of other arbitrary institutions?

Roberto Azevedo: I wasn't really thinking about joining any of them at this point. I was invited by the SCIA and at that point, I began to consider whether this would be a good use of my time. And after learning about what the SCIA is, what it does, I felt that this would be a two-way street, where I think I can contribute to the work of the SCIA and I also think that I will learn a lot from what's being done here. So, it was a win-win at this point in time.

SFC Markets and Finance: To be more specific, what kind of characteristic of the SCIA attracts you most? 

Roberto Azevedo: What was most attractive was the push to be truly international. I come from a professional background where being able to understand and being able to operate with different agents in the world, with cultures that are completely different, with practices which are completely different, all those things were very important to me. And I think this push of the SCIA not to be a regional body, but to be a truly international and global body, that is something that captivated and seduced me.

SFC Markets and Finance: After joining this institution, what role do you expect to play as a member of the committee? 

Roberto Azevedo: Well, it’s early to tell. I just joined. This was my first meeting. I read the report. I found the report was very, very helpful because it also looked at the future. It was not only looking at the past, but the challenges that the SCIA has and how to overcome those challenges. And I saw many areas where I think my background, my expertise would be helpful, but how exactly I'm going to contribute and how exactly I'm going to play a role within the center is something that we'll have to figure out together.

SFC Markets and Finance: What's your outlook towards China's development in digital area?

Roberto Azevedo: I said from the beginning, I'm very impressed with everything I've seen. The dynamism, the role that changing place in global innovation, the several companies that operate here, both in the digital space and also in energy transition, manufacturing. It's truly impressive. And I think it's only going to grow more and more as China connects more globally. I think there's a lot of space in the digital area where China can be even more present. China is already a big player in the manufacturing, in the logistics services, but I think in the digital space, China can be much more present internationally than it is today.




记者:陈思琦 杨雨莱 


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(作者:杨雨莱,陈思琦 编辑:李依农)