Economic review

Regional cooperation key for Asia to go through hard times: BFA

2017-07-12 14:42:00 (Beijing Time)         Xinhua

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Vice chairman of the Boao Forum for Asia (BFA) Zeng Peiyan speaks at the opening ceremony of the BFA Bangkok Conference in Bangkok, Thailand, on July 11, 2017. (Xinhua/Rachen Sageamsak)

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 Boao Forum for Asia (BFA) 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 BFA, 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 BFA held in Thai capital Bangkok where leaders and thinkers gathered to discuss topics including Asian economic integration, how to connect Asia and ASEAN-China free trade area, among others.

Infrastructure development and production capacity cooperation in recent years, serving as a new engine for Asian regional 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 to increase this year to 5.5 percent from 5.3 percent in 2016.

Growth will remain strong at 5.4 percent in 2018, 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, said the report.

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.