Jim O'Neill (Xinhua file photo)
Jim O’Neill (Xinhua file photo)

LONDON, May 21 (Xinhua) — The economist who coined the acronym BRIC to describe the four powerhouse emerging economies of Brazil, Russia, India and China has said that he thinks China will play a “very important role” in promoting economic cooperation at the G20 Summit held in China in September.

Jim O’Neill, formerly chief economist with Goldman Sachs and now a minister in the British government as commercial secretary to the Treasury, told Xinhua in an exclusive interview that he expected China to nurture the growth of emerging economies when it hosts the G20 Summit, held for the first time in China in the city of Hangzhou in September.

O’Neill said: “I think China can play a very important role (at the Hangzhou Summit) in a broader sense of economic cooperation. China has become the second largest economy in the world, on some criteria, purchasing power parity, it is already the largest or close to it.”

He added: “We need to have, in order to sustain global economic growth, shared consensus — not necessarily the same policies but shared consensus, about the appropriate policies that come from different parts of the world.”

O’Neill said that China had had “remarkable success,” not withstanding some of its considerable challenges, in raising the welfare and wealth of its 1.3 billion people.

“I think it can help others, especially in the emerging world, of moving down a similar path and contributing to a stable and more prosperous world economy,” said O’Neill.

O’Neill said the G20 Summit to be held in China marked a change in the approach to the international community’s economic role: “It is a very historic moment in global economic governance. China has not hosted the G20 before.”

O’Neill is chair of the Review on Antimicrobial Resistance, set up to examine how to tackle the threat of superbugs, which become stronger and more resistant to antibiotics the more they are exposed to them.

The cost to the world economy could be 20 trillion U.S. dollars by 2050, and the superbugs could be killing 10 million people each year, one million of which in China, unless action is taken, according to the review.

The findings of the review, which was unveiled this week in London, will be taken to the G20 Summit and talks are underway at the moment, according to O’Neill.

“We are hopeful that culminating in the Chinese G20 in September there will be a decision that will be agreed by all 20 G20 members as to how they are going to come up with the right amount of money to get us to new drugs,” he said.

“I am reasonably hopeful that progress will be made because there are already the beginnings of discussions that have taken place at the so-called G20 Sherpa Level.”