President Xi Jinping called on participants at the Boao Forum for Asia Annual Conference to look for solutions to problems faced by the global and regional economy and promote “a more dynamic, more inclusive and more sustainable process of economic globalization.”
In a congratulatory letter to the 2017 annual conference of the forum, which opened in Boao in South China’s Hainan province on March 25, Xi said the forum has played a significant role in promoting cooperation in Asia and boosting Asia’s influence on the world stage since its foundation 16 years ago.
The President stressed that the theme of the annual conference this year — “Globalization and Free Trade: The Asian Perspectives” — has reflected the international community and particularly Asian countries’ concern over economic globalization.
Vice-Premier Zhang Gaoli delivered a keynote speech at the opening ceremony of the conference, also focusing on economic globalization.
Zhang encouraged participants at the conference to exchange views and consolidate and expand consensus on economic globalization and free trade while making contributions to world peace, stability, and prosperity.
“The development of Asia cannot be achieved without the world and the prosperity of the world cannot be realized without Asia,” he said, adding that Asian countries have been committed to economic globalization and have also received its enormous benefits.
Asia has become a major engine of the world economy, contributing to 50 percent of global growth since the 2008 financial crisis, according to China’s vice premier.
Zhang called on Asian countries and regions to join hands in promoting economic globalization and free trade and building a community of shared future for Asia and the mankind through peaceful, innovation-driven, open-minded, shared and more equitable development.
Measures should be taken to facilitate more balanced development worldwide and ensure “the benefit of globalization shines at every corner of the world,” said Zhang.
He pledged that China will keep opening up to the world and make great efforts to improve the environment for foreign investors and expand their access to the country’s service, manufacturing and mining industries. China will also strengthen property right protection and promote fairer competition in order to make its market “more transparent, more standardized and more attractive.”
“It is estimated that in the next five years, China will import goods with a total value of $8 trillion, attract foreign investments totaling $600 billion, and invest $750 billion overseas,” Zhang added.
Beijing will host the Belt and Road Forum International Cooperation in May. Zhang said the forum will provide another opportunity to exchange views on how to tackle economic problems of the world and the region.
Since President Xi proposed the Belt and Road initiative in autumn 2013, more than 100 countries and international organizations have expressed their support to it, while over 40 countries and international organizations have signed cooperative agreements with China, Zhang said. A large number of big projects have kicked off under the Belt and Road framework, driving economic growth, creating jobs and improving people’s livelihood in local areas, he pointed out.
Yasuo Fukuda, chairman of the Boao Forum for Asia and former prime minister of Japan, said at the opening ceremony that the biggest challenge faced by the world is “the trend of de-globalization,” while emphasizing the importance of ensuring all people enjoy the benefit of globalization.
The annual conference of the forum this year takes place March 23-26.