World / US and Canada

Boao Forum meets in US

By DENG YU in Seattle (China Daily USA) Updated: 2014-09-05 16:22

More than 300 business executives, policymakers and issue experts around the Pacific Rim arrived in Seattle on Thursday for the Boao Forum for Asia (BFA) Seattle Conference in the next three days.

Under the theme of Energy, Resources and Sustainable Development, the first-ever North American meeting of the Boao Forum for Asia will bring together leaders from the public and private sectors to explore how innovation can help solve global challenges related to climate change, energy, urbanization and health, and the growing importance of the Asia Pacific region in creating solutions.

Bill Gates, co-chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Jay Inslee, governor of the State of Washington, and Gary Locke, former US ambassador to China, will speak at the conference.

Visiting leaders from China include: Zhang Guobao, chairman of the China National Energy Commission's advisory board; Chen Feng, chairman of HNA Group; Nan Zhou, staff scientist and deputy group leader of China Energy Group, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory; and QIU Baoxing, former vice minister at the Ministry of Housing and Urban/Rural Development.

The BFA Seattle event comes on the heels of a 2013 trade mission that brought Gov Inslee and more than 100 Washington state delegates to China to strengthen the state's relationship with its largest trading partner. China alone accounted for $11.6 billion -roughly 15 percent - of Washington state exports last year. As one of the United States' largest exporters of food and agriculture products, Washington State sends roughly two-thirds of its exports of these products to Asian countries.

"Given Washington State's close economic ties to Asia and our history of fostering innovative, forward-looking industries, Seattle provides the perfect backdrop to spark an international discussion on sustainable economic development," said Inslee.

"Our goal is to launch a collaborative dialogue on sustainability emphasizing research, technology and innovative partnerships," he added. "We are proud that Washington State can help lead that discussion."

"We want Asian companies to invest in America because we know that foreign investment is vital to our economic growth," Gary Locke told more than 200 participants at an investment symposium sponsored by Microsoft at Microsoft's campus in Redmond on Sept 4.

The forum's main sessions will be held at the Fairmont Olympic Hotel. Hot topics to be covered include the new findings of climate changes, sustainability of conventional energy and the shale gas revolution and renewable/clean energy.

In a dialogue entitled "Strengthening Global Partnerships - Accelerating Progress" on Sept 5, Zhou Wenzhong, secretary general of Boao Forum for Asia, will join Bill Gates, former US Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and Nathan Myhrvold, founder and CEO, Intellectual Ventures, to discuss greater collaboration in innovation to address global challenges.

Founded in 2001 after being proposed by leaders of the Philippines, Australia and Japan, the Boao Forum for Asia, sometimes called BFA, is headquartered in the city of Boao, in the island province of Hainan, China.

With 60 percent of the global population and some of the world's fastest growing markets, Asia is uniquely positioned to pioneer new ways for balancing a healthy environment, economy and society.

"Asia has become the most dynamic region in the world, but for China and many other countries, a major challenge now is how to link economic development with environmental sustainability and health," said Kristi Heim, executive director of the Washington State China Relations Council. "This conference aims to bring some of the best minds together to exchange ideas and find new solutions."


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