Future of Asian economy in focus at Boao Forum

China 24

Experts consider the Boao Forum for Asia as one of the most important business platforms, especially for discussions on the future of the region’s economy. While this is an annual gathering, this year’s forum may be quite different.

CGTN’s Yang Chengxi speaks to some participants about what they expect.

In the past 20 years, Asia’s economies grew an average 6.8 percent annually, faster than any other region in the world.

“The region will remain the fastest growing in the world in the next 20 years,” according to Dai Xianglong, former governor of the People’s Bank of China. “China will grow fast, as well as India. Cooperation among China, Japan and South Korea, as well as among ASEAN economies will be strengthened. China’s Belt and Road Initiative will also bring new opportunities.”

This region is highly dependent on trade. A pick up in global trade volume in the past few years has helped the region come out of post-crisis stagnation. According to the latest Asian Economic Integration Report, a host of economies in the region saw double digit growth in both imports and exports for the majority of 2017.

But questions of how sustainable this momentum is persist.

“The trade friction between China and the U.S. will cause economic fluctuations in Asia,” Fan Gang, director of the National Economic Research Institute, said. “The region has an integrated industry chain. China assembles many goods and the parts come from countries like South Korea and Malaysia.”

Former Bank of Japan Governor Masaaki Shirakawa shared his own views, based on Japan’s trade spat with the U.S. in the 1980s.

“My conclusion is we should recognize to potential growth rate, if it is declining, we have to address this issue, otherwise bubble will increase. We should not focus too much on political issue but fundamentals…. Countries should raise productivity to deal with debt level…..That was Japan’s problem.”

Experts said Asia is facing many long-term and short-terms risks.

“China’s growth contribution will change,” according to Dai Xianglong. “Our exports and domestic investments dropped, but consumption increased. The country is focusing more on the quality of growth. That’s why we need to phase out zombie companies.”

Einar Tangen previews Xi Jinping’s address at Boao Forum

Chinese President Xi Jinping will take center stage at the Boao Forum for Asia. He is expected to announce new measures to expand economic reforms, and review the historic steps that launched China’s economic boom. Observers also say his speech might be the first time he publicly addresses U.S. – China trade tensions. Current affairs commentator Einar Tangen discusses with CGTN’s Mike Walter.