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Boao Forum for Asia Bangkok Conference Focuses on Asian Regional Cooperation

Time:2017-07-26 16:49:14    Views:135706    Origin:Boao Forum for Asia

Themed as “Asian Regional Cooperation: New Challenges, New Approach”, the Boao Forum for Asia (BFA) Conference was held in Bangkok, Thailand on July 11, 2017. Aimed at accelerating the process of economic integration in Asia, the Conference explored new approaches for deepening regional economic cooperation and promoting economic development under the “Belt and Road” initiative. More than 400 delegates from 13 countries and regions, including China, Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia and Cambodia, attended the meeting.

It is the first for the BFA to hold conference in Thailand. Besides the welcome dinner and opening, the conference includes three sessions and a closed-door dialogue, which are Asian Economic Integration: The Way Ahead session, Connecting Asia: Infrastructure and Supply Chain session, ASEAN-China Free Trade Area: Trade, Investment & Financial Cooperation and China-Thailand Entrepreneurs Dialogue.

Those who attended the opening and sessions of the conference are ZENG Peiyan, Vice Chairman, Boao Forum for Asia; Former Vice Premier, the People's Republic of China, Don PRAMUDWINAI, Minister of Foreign Affairs the Kingdom of Thailand, Surakiart SATHIRATHAI, Former Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Thailand; Chairman of APRC; Board Member of Boao Forum for Asia, Supachai PANITCHPAKDI, Former Deputy Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Thailand; Former Director General of the World Trade Organization (WTO); Former Secretary General of United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), ZHOU Wenzhong, Secretary General, Boao Forum for Asia, NING Fukui, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the People's Republic of China to the Kingdom of Thailand, Chen NAMCHAISIRI, Chairman, The Federation of Thai Industries, CHEN Deming, Former Minister of Commerce of the People's Republic of China, JIN Liqun, President, Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank(AIIB), Victor FUNG, Honorary Chairman, Li & Fung Limited; Group Chairman, Fung Group, Board Member of Boao Forum for Asia and other guests。

ZENG Peiyan delivered a keynote speech with the theme of Strengthening Regional Cooperation in Asia Amidst Adjustments to Globalization, in which he pointed out that globalization, as a historical trend, cannot be reversed or terminated. We can't blame globalization for all the structural problems of the world economy or find a fundamental solution to them by moves against globalization. Given our respective factor endowments and stages of development, Asian countries are heavily dependent on international trade and investment. Therefore, we should have a more reasonable and objective view on economic globalization, maximize its benefits while minimizing its negative impacts, and find a balanced policy approach. In my view, to accelerate economic integration in Asia and deepen regional economic cooperation is an effective way to adapt to the adjustments to globalization and promote economic development.

Looking ahead, Zeng Peiyan said that the Belt and Road Initiative will shed new light on economic globalization and regional economic integration, and give a vigorous boost to the upgrading of regional cooperation in East Asia in the following five aspects. First, it will boost the upgrading of development plans of regional countries. Second, it will boost the upgrading of the integrated regional market. Third, it will boost the upgrading of infrastructure connectivity. Fourth, it will boost the upgrading of institutional arrangements for trade and investment. Fifth, it will boost the upgrading of financial services and security systems.

Don PRAMUDWINAI said that Thailand is pursuing a major reform with our infrastructure sector to upgrade our transport and logistic system, as well as to establish the new economic corridors and industrial clusters that should spur further economic growth through trade and industrial connections within the country and regionally.

Don PRAMUDWINAI pointed out that globalization is at the crossroad. We need to address these challenges and advance a healthier global trade and economic integration. The win-win cooperation is based on shared interest and mutual respect. That's what makes every relation viable and last. The beggar-thy-neighbor strategy is nothing but an equivalence of to be hoist with one own's petard.

Surakiart SATHIRATHAI spoke highly of the role of the BFA and said that the conference is very timely and important and responds to new challenges, to new situations. He said that the word "community" comes from the Middle French word "communité" which means "joint ownership". Certainly as we explore new approaches, nothing should hold us back from looking at globalism with regional characteristics, from exploring new ideas such as one community, many systems, of a community of shared destiny and shared dreams. He pointed out that the progress made in two short years by the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank or AIIB can serve as a model for future international collaboration.

Zhou Wenzhong said that We have chosen this topic for this conference for the following points of thoughts: From a global perspective, Asia deepening regional cooperation and the stronger inter-regional trade and economic ties have boosted the integration of Asia, which is surely a safeguard for regional peace, stability, development and prosperity. From a regional perspective, the uncertainty surrounding TPP has generated more interest in RCEP and FTAAP as well as the acceleration of free trade arrangements among relevant countries along the Belt and Road. As you all know, this year marks the 50th anniversary of ASEAN as well as the 20th anniversary of ASEAN Plus Three.  It is our sincere hope that this conference will make its due contribution to this cooperation. As one of the 29 initial countries, Thailand has all along been an active supporter of BFA. Again, we wish to thank our Thai partners for their support and help to the conference.

NING Fukui pointed out that to stand the test of the international and regional vicissitudes, the Asian countries should be more united to advance regional cooperation and promote a community of common interests, with an Asian way of cooperation, which features mutual respect, consensus-building and accommodation of each other's comfort levels, in order to achieve win-win cooperation and common development.

China is always an important participant and prime mover of the regional cooperation in Asia. We firmly believe the Belt and Road Initiative will provide broad space and opportunities for the regional cooperation in Asia.

 Chen Namchaisiri said that Asia has become a well-known hub of innovation and a worldwide destination for foreign direct investment. Greater regional connectivity in Asia would create business opportunities for firms and increase access to markets and jobs for individuals. It would narrow the development gap at national and sub-regional levels, thus promoting inclusive and sustainable growth.

At the “Asian Economic Integration: The Way Ahead” session, the guests held that Asia – in face of challenges posed by anti-globalization – should adhere to the principle of free trade, promote regional economic integration, broaden cooperation areas and levels, upgrade the Asian regional and global economic cooperation mechanism, and achieve open, inclusive, balanced and sustainable development. CHEN Deming said that the future globalization is a new globalization, and attention shall be paid to breakthroughs in new technology, uneven distribution and environmental protection and other issues.

At the “Connecting Asia: Infrastructure and Supply Chain” session, the participants agreed that the connectivity of infrastructure would vigorously promote economic growth in local countries and the local region. Connectivity is not merely about connectivity of roads, but also, to a greater extent, the connectivity of personnel, technology, information, and culture. The participants praised the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank and expressed that the “Belt and Road” initiative is an important opportunity for the development of Asian countries. Its “go global” and connectivity model are the new approaches to globalization.

JIN Liqun pointed out that countries worldwide – from developed countries to developing countries – deem infrastructure construction as the main driver of economic growth. “AIIB” can meet the huge capital needs of infrastructure in Asia and increase the financial liquidity. He also stressed that “AIIB” is not a Chinese bank, but a bank to serve the interests of all member states.

At the “ASEAN-China Free Trade Area: Trade, Investment & Financial Cooperation” session, the guests pointed out that China-ASEAN Free Trade Area has developed by leaps and bounds in the recent decade. 2017 marks the 50th anniversary of the establishment of ASEAN, and China-ASEAN “10 +1” will see upgraded cooperation. In the future, we should work to strengthen openness and cooperation in trade, investment, and finance. LI Ruogu pointed out that greater efforts should be made to remove the obstacles to investment between China and ASEAN. RMB or local currency settlement will greatly facilitate the project investment.

At the Closed-door Dialogue of China-Thailand Entrepreneurs, 18 entrepreneurs from China and Thailand exchanged views on issues such as industrialized house-building, energy connectivity, China's investment in Thailand, sharing economy, Thailand's commodity supply chain, tourist facilities and local labor allocation in Thailand.

The conference was hosted by the Boao Forum for Asia, co-hosted by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Thailand, the Devawongse Varopakarn Institute of Foreign Affairs of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Thailand (DVIFA) and the Federation of Thai Industries (F.T.I.), Charoen Pokphand Group (CP Group) as BFA’s partner, supported by Asian Peace and Reconciliation Council (APRC) and Thai-Chinese Promotion of Investment and Trade Association.

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