Co­op­er­a­tion ‘ key for Asia’ to go through hard times

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - WORLD -

BANGKOK — Re­gional co­op­er­a­tion is a key for Asia to go through hard times amid the rise of de-glob­al­iza­tion, schol­ars from var­i­ous Asian coun­tries agreed at the Boao Fo­rum for Asia on Tues­day.

Re­gional co­op­er­a­tion will be a “magic wand” to help Asia out from in­creas­ing chal­lenges of de-glob­al­iza­tion, said Zeng Peiyan, vice-chair­man of the fo­rum, adding that the re­gion has been strug­gling with ex­ter­nal trade pro­tec­tion­ism and fi­nan­cial fluc­tu­a­tion as well as in­ter­nal re­forms, liveli­hood is­sues and eco­nomic tran­si­tion es­pe­cially in 2017, a year awash with po­lit­i­cal and eco­nomic volatil­ity.

Asia has ben­e­fited enor­mously from glob­al­iza­tion, Zeng said, ex­plain­ing that in 1981, nearly 1.6 bil­lion peo­ple were char­ac­ter­ized as liv­ing in poverty but to­day the fig­ure has dropped to 330 mil­lion due to the open­ness and ac­tive par­tic­i­pa­tion in glob­al­iza­tion in the re­gion.

Zeng was speak­ing at the fo­rum held in the Thai cap­i­tal Bangkok where lead­ers and schol­ars gath­ered to dis­cuss top­ics in­clud­ing Asian eco­nomic in­te­gra­tion, how to con­nect Asia and ASEANChina free trade area, among oth­ers.

In­fra­struc­ture devel­op­ment and pro­duc­tion ca­pac­ity co­op­er­a­tion in re­cent years, serv­ing as a new en­gine for Asian co­op­er­a­tion, has brought fast eco­nomic growth in the re­gion, ac­cord­ing to Su­rakiart Sathi­rathai, for­mer deputy prime min­is­ter of Thai­land.

The Re­gional Eco­nomic Out­look for Asia and the Pa­cific es­ti­mates growth for the re­gion will in­crease this year to 5.5 per­cent from 5.3 per­cent last year.

Growth will re­main strong at 5.4 per­cent next year, as the re­gion con­tin­ues to be the leader of global growth among a world be­set by slow­ing in­ter­na­tional trade, shrink­ing investment and fre­quent se­cu­rity is­sues, the re­port said.

Su­rakiart be­lieves the con­fer­ence, bring­ing to­gether around 300 lead­ers from var­i­ous com­mu­ni­ties to brain­storm new ap­proaches and chal­lenges to Asian re­gional co­op­er­a­tion and iden­tify new op­por­tu­ni­ties of co­op­er­a­tion in dif­fer­ent sec­tors, will be a great plat­form amid a world of ris­ing dis­trust and pro­tec­tion­ism.

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