Eugenio Bregolat: “America and any other country that is not blind is terrified about China’s growth”
The former Spanish ambassador to China, Eugenio Bregolat, gave a conference entitled ‘The economic growth of China and its impact on the world order” at UIC Barcelona to students of the Faculty of Law as part of its series of “lifelong learning conferences”. Bregolat explained that every forecast points to the fact that, by 2050, China’s GDP, in market prices, “will be 45% higher than that of the USA.”
The diplomat reminded the audience that China’s GDP today accounts for 16% of the global GDP, when in 1978 it amounted to just 1.6%, which demonstrates the spectacular growth of the Asian nation. In contrast, the GDP of the United States stands at 23.3% of the global GDP today as compared to the 37.5% it represented in 1978.
Bregolat, who also served as an ambassador in Russia, compared China’s economic situation to that of other countries. In this respect, he noted that China’s GDP “is five times higher than that of India, when 40 years ago they were both very similar”.
In his presentation, the speaker also mentioned the university sector in China, noting that these days eight million young people are graduating every year. In addition, he explained that, according to his calculations, between 2015 and 2035 some 200 million university students will graduate, “of whom 60% will be engineers and scientists”, while “the entire working population of the United States only adds up to 165 million people.”
He also highlighted the fact that the Chinese middle class has grown exponentially in recent years – by more than 300 million people – thanks to the “privatisation of the real estate sector” and the fact that “salaries are now on the same level as Portugal or Greece.”
In view of this economic growth, Bregolat explained that, according to the World Bank, “China has created in one generation what other countries would have taken centuries to achieve”, though he also admitted that “this does not mean that they are not experiencing some major problems.”
“With a population of 1,500 million inhabitants, they have had to absorb the migration of 600 million people from the country to the cities, the population is ageing, there is increasing income disparity between regions, and they need to change their economic model for one based on investments and exports,” he concluded.