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Economic signals from opening ceremony of Boao Forum

Updated: Mar 25,2016 4:38 PM

Positive signals from Premier Li Keqiang on March 24 in terms of the prospects for China’s economic transition and Asia’s economy have drawn great attention.

The Premier gave a keynote speech at the opening ceremony of the 2016 Boao Forum for Asia held in the southern province of Hainan.

Hopes are greater than difficulties

“There are more hopes than difficulties,” said the Premier, and the first year of China’s 13th Five-Year-Plan faces many difficulties as well as positive changes.

China has undergone negative growth in export and a decreasing growth rate in industry since the beginning of this year, whereas the positive forces for economic growth are rising.

The first two months witnessed a rebound in the growth rate of fixed asset investments, an increase in the money supply, and faster growth in the service sector and high-technology industry.

“Premier Li responded to people’s concerns on the country’s economy, highlighted his confidence in it and released a clear signal that the government will carry out policies if the economy stalls, which has provided a dose of reassurance for the market, ” said Wang Jun, of the China Center for International Economic Exchanges.

The robust strong domestic consumer demand and the blossoming service sector will greatly help China’s economic transition, said Deloitte’s global chairman David Cruickshank.

Develop internal strength, build new momentum

China will endeavor to maintain medium-high growth in the long term and promote development toward the medium-high end, and the key here is to dig and develop the dynamics and potential energy for economic transition and growth.

Just like a high-speed train, China’s economy needs stable operation and multiple driving forces, which includes opening up, structural adjustment, and livelihood improvement, Premier Li said in his speech.

The reform, especially supply-side structure reform, and opening-up, will invigorate the Chinese economy in the future, said Chi Fulin, president of the China Institute for Development and Reform, at the forum.

“China has the greatest number of engineers and scientists, and the young people have a real desire and love for entrepreneurship,” said Cruickshank, adding that it will create efficient economic output once the reforms are put in place in a perfect multi-level market.

“A new round of opening and reform will boost the new economy,” said Baidu chief Zhang Yaqin. Just like China’s Internet industry, the new economy will bring a radical change to China’s economic structure.

The government should defend the bottom line when taking measures to improve people’s lives, said Zhang Liqun, a researcher at the Development Research Center of the State Council. It will be good to drive investment and hedge against downward pressure while building public service, he added.

Build a community of development and cooperation

Delegates from Asian countries generally expressed their concerns about the region’s economic growth, saying that despite the impact of a global financial crisis, Asia remains one of the largest economy areas worldwide with durable momentum for development.

The Asian economy should play a greater role in the world economic recovery, they said.

As Premier Li said at the ceremony, Asia is an engine of global growth and a promoter of world civilization. With cooperation and solidarity, Asian countries are certain to overcome difficulties and embrace a bright future, he added.

“If Asian economy is a high-speed train, China will be the locomotive,” said Zhang Yunling, director of the CASS Academic Division of International Studies. China will facilitate its neighboring countries in development and let the whole region grow faster.

The “One Belt One Road” initiative and AIIB will be a good carrier for cooperation among Asian countries, said the delegates from Southeast Asian nations.

The initiatives of an Asian financial cooperation association and the dialogue of Asian civilizations are especially remarkable, which will become important aspects of Asian countries’ cooperation, said Wang Jun.

An Asian financial cooperation association will enable the region to prevent another large-scale financial turmoil and is conducive to the improvement of the voice and influence of Asian countries as a whole, he added.

“Chinese market is a big drive for the development of the world economy,” said John Odum, president of Six Flags entertainment corporation. “Having seen the good opportunities in China, we came here for investment, and this may be the ‘Chinese way of sharing’, ” he said.