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Boao Forum for Asia Annual Conference 2009 Opens Wen Jiabao Attends the Conference and Delivers a Keynote Speech

(2009/04/18)

Premier Wen Jiabao of the State Council delivers a keynote speech at the opening of Boao Forum for Asia Annual Conference 2009

On the morning of April 18, 2009, Boao Forum for Asia (BFA) Annual Conference 2009 opened in Boao, Hainan province. Premier Wen Jiabao of the State Council attended the opening ceremony and delivered a keynote speech entitled Strengthening Confidence and Deepening Cooperation for Win-win Progress. He stressed that China is willing to continue to join hands with other Asian countries to cope with the challenges actively, strengthen cooperation in an all-round manner, enrich the cooperation in various fields and promote regional peace and prosperity.

Delegates gathered in the main conference hall of BFA international conference center amid a heated atmosphere. The logo of BFA hung behind the podium was particularly eye-catching against the blue backdrop.

In his speech, Wen first of all introduced the measures taken by China to address the international financial crisis and the initial results. He pointed out that from September 2008 the world economy started suffering the most severe challenges since the Great Depression of last century. The Chinese government has made swift and decisive readjustment of the macroeconomic policy, implemented a proactive fiscal policy and a moderately loose monetary policy and quickly launched a package plan to promote the stable and relatively fast economic growth. Efforts have been made to expand domestic demand comprehensively, boost economic growth by consumption demand and promote the balanced growth of the domestic economy; strengthen infrastructure construction and push for the coordinated development of the domestic economy; improve the industrial competitiveness and innovation capacity and advance the sustainable development of the domestic economy; enhance the quality of people and shift towards an intensive model of economic growth. This package plan addresses both the symptoms and root causes of the problems and combines the short-term with the long-term interest. It is both an expedient to maintain economic growth, people's livelihood and stability and a far-reaching decision to realize the scientific and harmonious development of the Chinese economy. It is of great importance to ease the serious contradictions in the process of economic development, boost confidence and stabilize expectation. These measures have shown initial results, and positive signs have appeared and the domestic economy performs better than what has been expected.

Wen said that it should be noted the international financial crisis is still spreading, the basic landscape of world economic recession remains unchanged, the problems of the financial system are yet to be solved, the deterioration of real economy is worse than expected and the global economic recovery might take a long period of time and experience twists and turns. We will unswervingly practice the proactive fiscal policy and moderately loose monetary policy, spare no effort to implement the package plan with a view of coping with the crisis in an all-round way, try to minimize the impact of the financial crisis and promote the stable and relatively fast growth of the Chinese economy.

He noted that Asia is one of the regions with the most dynamic and promising economy in the world. To effectively tackle the financial crisis, Asian countries should run their own affairs well and more importantly strengthen cooperation and pull through the difficulties together in order to achieve common development and drive the world economic recovery as an important engine.

Wen proposed five suggestions on reinforcing cooperation among Asian countries.

First, strengthen trade and economic cooperation and oppose trade protectionism firmly. Effective measures should be adopted in the fields of customs, inspection and quarantine, logistics and business personnel mobility, and tangible actions be taken to reduce trade barriers and prevent the emergence of new obstacle. The construction of free trade zones should be accelerated, the multilateral and bilateral free trade arrangements be made full use of and the economic complementarities of countries be enhanced.

Second, reinforce financial cooperation and try to maintain regional financial stability. We should make best use of the bilateral currency swap agreements and study how to expand the swap lines and incorporate more countries in the agreements. It is hoped to accelerate the process of Chiang Mai Initiative Multilateralisation, take into account the concerns of each other to the maximum extent, reach consensus as soon as possible, complete the building of the regional foreign exchange pool and increase the capacity of the region to guard against financial crisis. The development of Asian bond market should be sped up in order to better use the fund within this region and promote the development of Asian economy.

Third, deepen investment cooperation and stimulate the regional economic growth by increasing investment. The development of transportation, power and telecom infrastructures at regional and sub-region levels should be promoted. We should gradually realize the interconnection and networking of those infrastructures. China has decided to set up the "China-ASEAN Fund on Investment Cooperation" worth US$10 billion to support the regional infrastructure construction. To expand investment, countries should carry forward the spirit of opening and allow the businesses of other countries to play on a level field. Companies within the region should be encouraged to make mutual investment and enhance cooperation on labor service, and large scale of repatriation of foreign workers should be avoided.

Fourth, advance "green" cooperation and boost the sustainable growth of Asian economy. Policies and actions should be coordinated actively and effectively and cooperation of Asian countries on energy saving and environmental protection, development and utilization of new and renewable energy be strengthened in order to cultivate new growth point of Asian economy. The principles of "common but differentiated responsibilities" and equality should be adhered to and dialogue and exchanges be deepened under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. Asian countries should conduct pragmatic cooperation and make due contributions to the global efforts of fighting against climate change.

Fifth, increase cooperation and coordination in international affairs and promote world peace, stability and prosperity. Asia should enhance cooperation with other regions and improve the efficiency and quality of cooperation through such platforms as APEC, Asia Europe Meeting, East Asia-Latin America Cooperation Forum and Asia-Middle East Dialogue. The consensus of G20 London Financial Summit should be implemented and macroeconomic policies be coordinated; the international financial system reform should be pushed forward, the representation and voice of emerging markets and developing countries be raised, the monitoring over the macroeconomic policies of the major reserve currency issuing economies should be reinforced and the development of a diversified international monetary system be sped up; the Doha round of talks should be guided towards a comprehensive and balanced result and trade support for the developing countries be strengthened particularly; the UN Millennium Development Goals(MDGs) should be fulfilled faithfully and the international poverty alleviation be pushed forward. The financial crisis should not be used as an excuse to reduce assistance to the developing countries.

Wen stressed that the business community needs to play an active role in the efforts of tackling the international financial crisis and promoting the regional development of Asia. Entrepreneurs should take their social responsibility seriously, handle various risks and hidden threats appropriately and take the opportunities of world economic reshuffle to stride forward and make innovation boldly and seek new development opportunities. Asia enjoys great development potential. Businesses within the region, especially the multilateral companies, will surely achieve new development in the process of coping with the crisis so long as they keep faith in this land, try their best to avoid closing down plants or laying workers off and enhance cooperation on their business operation and R&D.

He finally said that hope is like a bright lamp which will never go out and will light the direction for countries, businesses and people all over the world. Let us strengthen confidence, never give up hope, join hand in hand and create a better future for Asia.

Other heads of states and governments including Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev, Pakistan's President Asif Ali Zadari, Vietnam's Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung, Mongolia's Prime Minister Sanj Bayar, New Zealand's Prime Minister John Key and Iran's First Vice-President Parvis Davoodi also delivered speeches at the opening ceremony.

Participating leaders agreed that the speech of Premier Wen drew the blueprint for the future development of Asia and boosted confidence. It is not a good choice to cope with the international financial crisis alone. Only with concerted efforts we can effectively address the negative impact t of the crisis.

Long Yongtu, Secretary General of BFA, chaired the opening ceremony. Fidel V. Ramos, chairman of board of directors of the BFA also addressed the opening ceremony.

More than 1,600 political leaders, business executives, experts and scholars from different countries and regions including Myanmar's Prime Minister Thein Sein, Albania's Prime Minister Sali Berisha, Papua New Guinea's Prime Minister Michael Thomas Somare, Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Donald Tsang Yam-kuen, Chief Executive of the Macao Special Administrative Region Edmund Ho Hau Wah and chief advisor of Taiwan's Cross-Straits Common Market Foundation Fredrick Chien attended the opening ceremony.

Prior to attending the opening ceremony, Wen took group photos with the Chinese and foreign participants. With the theme of Asia: Managing Beyond Crisis, the annual conference will mainly discuss the topics of how to address Asia's challenges in face of the current international financial crisis, how to strike a balance of financial innovation, opening and regulation and forecasting the economic trend in 2009.



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