Delegates speak at the Boao Forum for Asia in Hainan Province on March 24, 2017. [Photo/Xinhua]
Economic globalization, not isolation, will ensure a better future for Asia and the world, according to the ongoing Boao Forum for Asia (BFA) in Hainan Province.
The theme of the conference - “Globalization and Free Trade: The Asian Perspectives” - reflects the attention to economic globalization paid by the international community, especially Asian countries, said Chinese President Xi Jinping in a congratulatory letter to the conference's opening session on Saturday.
Xi called upon attendees at the conference to pool their wisdom on solving the major problems facing the world and regional economy, and push forward a more dynamic, inclusive and sustainable economic globalization process.
The conference, which concludes on March 26, chimes with China's stance and efforts on globalization despite increasing anti-globalization sentiment.
In his January speech during the World Economic Forum at Davos, Xi said protectionism is like “locking oneself in a dark room.”
In a speech at the opening ceremony at Boao, Chinese Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli asked Asian countries to promote economic globalization and free trade, and forge a community of common destiny for Asia and mankind.
To achieve that goal, Asia needs peace, innovation, openness, sharing and fairness, said Zhang.
GLOBALIZATION WINS GLOBAL OVATION
China's confidence resonates with international community.
Leslie Maasdorp, vice president and CFO of the New Development Bank, said the world is in the midst of a transition where questions are being raised about the downside of globalization.
Maasdorp said that Xi's letter and the address from the vice premier cemented the view that China sees globalization as a positive force for the world and will defend free trade.
“We are pleased to hear some of the key words such as openness and inclusiveness that China is reaffirming to support the next phase development of globalization,” said Peder Holk Nielsen, CEO of Denmark-based biotech firm Novozymes.
“Innovation is regarded as a prominent impetus to global economic vitality through new technologies and new development models,” Nielsen said.
Elaborating on innovation, Zhang Gaoli called for economic structural reform, utilization of new technology and development of a new economy.
David Morris, chief representative of the Pacific Islands Forum, said, “The Pacific Islands region has vast resources but is remote from major economies, so we look forward to more open markets, better connectivity and international cooperation to support sustainable development.”
In his speech, Zhang reaffirmed China's commitment to further opening up its market, saying that the country is expected to import goods worth 8 trillion U.S. dollars in the next five years.
During the period, China will attract 600 billion dollars of foreign investment, with outbound investment reaching 750 billion dollars, he said.
BELT AND ROAD: THE WAY FORWARD
The Belt and Road Initiative, proposed by China in 2013 with the aim of building a trade and infrastructure network connecting Asia with Europe and Africa, is part of the Chinese answer to globalization.
The initiative, which has seen the participation of more than 100 countries and international organizations, has helped stimulate economic growth, create jobs, and improve quality of life, said the vice premier.
The scheme has promoted economic and trade cooperation and offered a new way to curb the anti-globalization trend, according to BFA's annual report on the development of emerging economies.