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  2. About BFA

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  6. BFA Academy

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  8. Regional Cooperation

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Vice Chairman Zhou Xiaochuan’s Opening Remarks at the Asia-Europe Cooperation Dialogue
Origin:Boao Forum for Asia      Time:2019-12-03 10:43:53    Views:730

The second Asia-Europe Cooperation Dialogue,co-sponsored by the Boao Forum for Asia, Chongqing Municipal Government and the European House-Ambrosetti, was held from 1st to 3rd December in Chongqing. BFA Vice Chairman Zhou Xiaochuan delivered a keynote speech at the opening ceremony on 2 Dec. The following is the full text of the speech:

 

Vice Chairman Zhou Xiaochuan’s Opening Remarks at the Asia-Europe Cooperation Dialogue

December 2    Chongqing

 

Your Excellency Chairman Ban Ki-moon,

Your Excellency Prime Minister Esko Aho,

Your Excellency Mayor Tang Liangzhi,

Distinguished guests,

Ladies and gentlemen,

 

Good morning! 

Thank you all for joining us at the Asia-Europe Cooperation Dialogue. Let me first join Chairman Ban in expressing our gratitude to the Chongqing Municipal Government for its full support and warm hospitality.

Today, we gather here in Chongqing, because it is a role model in pushing forward connectivity and economic cooperation within Asia and with Europe with remarkable achievements. We gather here, with our goodwill and a common goal to find solutions to bolster multilateralism, protect globalization and achieve sustainable growth.

The world has been facing striking traditional and non-traditional challenges—geopolitical conflicts, trade frictions, climate change, cyber security and so on.  All of these have taken a heavy toll on global economic growth.  In Europe, export weakened and consumer confidence dampened.  Unpredictable outcome of BREXIT and political instability in certain countries weighed on the European economy.  In Asia, though domestic demand has been supporting economic growth, many countries have recorded sluggish trade growth and slowing down foreign investment since the beginning of 2019.  The IMF has cut its economic growth estimation for Europe and the Asia-Pacific region to 1.2% and 5.0% for 2019 respectively. We know the global market is awaiting the completion of phase-one trade deal between China and the US soon, taking away big uncertainties for business decisions. 

Europe and Asia have been taking proactive actions to promote trade and investment and to lift finance and economy. European governments are taking measures to encourage investment, including removing obstacles for the single capital market and strengthen the banking union. The European Commission released “Connecting Europe and Asia” report in late 2018, to further enhance transportation, digital network and energy linkage between Asia and Europe. In East Asia, Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) agreement has made concrete progress.  

We welcome all of these accomplishments and call for more concerted actions from Asia and Europe to tackle the daunting tasks lying ahead.

First, to promote trade and investment and safeguard multilateral trade system.  Asia and Europe can play constructive roles in WTO reform to restore its authority and efficacy.  Bilateral trade agreements and investment treaties between European and Asian countries are also concrete steps to protect free flow of trade and investment. 

Second, to improve infrastructure connectivity so as to reduce transportation and communication costs and to increase growth potential. More efforts can be made in finding synergy in the “Belt and Road Initiative” and the Strategy for “Connecting Europe and Asia”. Towards this end, Asian and European countries can explore ways to co-invest together, better mobilizing resources for mega projects and making full use of each other’s advantages.

Third, to join hands to address the global challenge of climate change.  “A European Green Deal” put forward by the new EU leadership is welcome.  Asia and Europe can work together in implementation of details of the Paris Agreement, including providing policy, technology and financial support to transition to low-carbon economy model, and to developing countries.  

Last but not least, to strike good balance between empowering the economy and society with technology and innovation and protecting social values and improving governance. The European Union has adopted General Data Protection Regulations and is debating on digital tax.  Asia is embracing digital innovation in promoting financial inclusion, enhancing social connectivity, increasing administration efficiency and so on. At the same time, countries realize that they need to well prepare themselves to serious threats imposed by disruptive technologies, including cyber-attack, smuggling, money laundering, frauds and other offences. 

Ladies and gentlemen, with these remarks, I wish the dialogue a great success and look forward to the inspiring discussions and brainstorming at the following sessions.

Thank you very much!