2017 Boao Forum for Asia to tackle China’s Belt & Road Initiative

BOAO, Hainan- China's illustrious Belt and Road Initiative takes center stage anew as Hainan, China's tropical province, holds the Boao Forum for Asia (BFA) Annual Conference 2017 from March 23 to 26, this year.

BFA Secretary General Zhou Wenzhong said the "One Belt, One Road" initiative will continue to be the key topic in the four-day forum themed: "Globalization and Free Trade: The Asian Perspectives."

Over 200 delegates representing government, business, academe and media sectors from Asian region will attend the BFA's 42 official and 12 private sessions.

"It is an urgent priority for governments and businesses to stimulate growth through a multi-pronged approach," Zhou said.

Other topics to be addressed include Asian regional cooperation, the Doha Round, global value chain reconstruction and the Asia-Pacific free trade zone advocated also by China.

Zhou said delegates will also tackle related topics such as global economic sub-health, limits of monetary policy, education reform, fiscal policy as economic stimulus, austerity and growth, cross-border investment, craftsmanship, small and medium-sized companies and revival of private-sector investment.

Separate sessions have been dedicated to a retrospective reflection on the Asian financial crisis and the subprime mortgage as to the economic trends of the United States and China, the world's two biggest economies.

New prospects for Asian media cooperation will also be tackled by 33 media leaders, including Philippines' People's Television Network Director General Dino Antonio Apolonio and Maria Elizabeth Raymundo of the Philippine Broadcasting Service.

Top government leaders who have so far confirmed attendance include Nepal Prime Minister Puspa Kama Dahal, Madagasar President Hery Martial Rajoanarimampiannia, Micronesia President Peter Christian and Myanmar Vice President U Myint Swe.

Former Philippines President Fidel V. Ramos along with former Australian Prime Minister Bob Hawke and former Japanese Prime Minister Morihiro Hosokawa initiated the forum in 1998, to promote regional economic integration and to bring Asian countries closer in a bid to achievement inclusive developments in the region.

Designed after Davos' World Economic Forum held annually in Davos in Switzerland, BFA is a non-profit organization that holds annual meeting since 2002 in Boao, where the forum's name was inherited.

The 2017 BFA will be held two months before China will host a Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation (BRF) from May 14 to 15 in Beijing.

China will invite 25 foreign leaders, including Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte, to attend the forum where economic players along Belt and Road will discuss ways to boost and build cooperation platform and share cooperation outcome through interconnected development.

Initiated by Chinese President Xi Jingping in 2013, the Belt and Road aims to build a trade and infrastructure network connecting Asia with Europe and Africa along the ancient Silk Road trade routes.

China has reportedly invested more than USD 50 billion in the Belt and Road countries since the initiative was proposed.

Source: Philippines News Agency

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