The Boao Forum for Asia is an organisation which focuses on the hosting of high-level forums for key leaders from within government, business and academia across Asia and other continents, inviting them to share their vision on the most urgent and pressing issues. It is sometimes known as the ‘Asian Davos’ and takes its name from its location, the town of Boao in the southern Hainan province of China. The Forum was officially inaugurated in February 2001, and its founding was driven by the People’s Republic of China. It was founded by 25 Asian and Australasian states on 27th February 2001 and held its first meeting on 12–13th April 2002.
During the World Economic Forum in 2017, President Xi made a statement strongly indicating that he was in full support of economic globalisation. He acknowledged that there were issues with it, but warned against making it a scapegoat, stating that “It is true that economic globalisation has created new problems. But this is no justification to write off economic globalisation altogether.” He went on to discuss the ways in which China has benefited from economic globalisation, likening it to “learning to swim.”
President Xi further echoed this sentiment in 2018 at the Boao Forum, stating that China’s national take on this falls firmly in line with globalisation, and with the beliefs that other countries’ interests are able to complement those of China. In underlining this point, Xi discussed how China’s fundamental and basic interest in globalisation is the opportunity presented for participation in international division of labour, and increased labour efficiency, ensuring an improvement in people’s living standards and the wider national well-being. It is not, as assumed, a pursuit of trade imbalances: he stated firmly that: “China does not seek trade surplus; we have a genuine desire to increase imports and achieve greater balance of international payments under the current account.” Xi also announced additional immediate steps rising from this fundamental strategic framework of support for globalisation and opening up, see more information here.
Xi’s optimism has increased hope that trade protectionism has no broad-based support amongst global leaders and that it is a short-lived affair. The multilateral trade framework has been a success globally, generating new opportunities for growth in the developing world, giving increasing access to less-developed countries’ goods and services to world markets, by linking lower-income countries, through the development of global supply chains and enabling capital and technology in developing countries.
This has resulted in strong, emerging market economies such as China, Brazil, India, Mexico, Turkey and Indonesia. The expansion of the global trading mechanism under the WTO has helped secure Asia’s current prominent position in the world economy. The rising trend of trade protectionism is against this spirit of the WTO as well as the global trade body’s idea of “most favoured nation.” This provides economies with the chance to help one another, allowing mutual access to domestic markets.
The idea for the future is that China will focus firstly on the foundation for future development, aiming to improve people’s living standards and national wellbeing, rather than economic growth as GDP.
The opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not reflect the view of the employer and any mentioned organizations or people.