Introduction
Marking the 20th anniversary of the Boao Forum, this year's conference will focus on global governance and the Belt and Road Initiative, and aims to build further consensus on global development and governance in the post-pandemic era.
The BFA is a non-governmental and non-profit international organization committed to promoting regional economic integration and bringing Asian countries closer to their development goals.
Forum on Chinese brands going global held in Boao
By Ma Zhiping in Boao, Hainan
Wang Lei, deputy secretary general of the CPC Hainan Provincial Committee, speaks at the forum. [Photo by Guo Cheng/for chinadaily.com.cn]

A forum on Chinese brands going global was held on Wednesday in Nanqiang village, Boao, dubbed as a beautiful "rural meeting center" for guests participating in the 2021 Boao Forum for Asia Annual Conference, with officials and corporate executives exchanging insights on promoting more Chinese brands going global.

"Hainan will strive with greater efforts to boost connections between China and the world, through channels and measures such as fostering more Chinese brands, expanding their international presence, granting preferential tax rates to enterprises and professionals and cutting restrictions to welcome investment in Hainan," said Wang Lei, deputy secretary general of the CPC Hainan Provincial Committee.

Wang said Hainan has focused its efforts on building an environment that will showcase beautiful ecological systems, preferential policies, a superior institutional framework and an optimized business environment, presenting a splendid Hainan Free Trade Port to the world.

He added Hainan has introduced 116 institutional innovations in the past three years to optimize the local business environment, facilitating business registration and production activities and corporate brand image-building, as well as protection of intellectual property rights.

Li Shiyuan, head of the Hainan business of Gree Electric Appliances Inc, said on the back of increasing market competition, Chinese brands must strengthen efforts in further enhancing product quality and craftsmanship to achieve greater international recognition.

"We will give priority to making products with ingenuity, improved quality and craft. Greater attention will be put on fashion and futuristic designing of electric appliances to offer consumers an avant-garde experience of our brand products," the Gree manager said.

During the 2021 annual conference, which closed on Wednesday, more than 20 meetings and parties were held and welcomed by BFA participants at Nanqiang village, which is about 15 minutes' drive from the permanent site of the BFA on the eastern coast of Hainan Island.

China has made great strides in digital economy: IMF chief
A woman takes a look at an unmanned food truck in Xiangcheng district of Suzhou, East China's Jiangsu province, in March, 2021. [Photo/szxc.gov.cn]

WASHINGTON -- China has made great strides in reshaping its own economy based on technology, and now other emerging markets are getting a push from the same digital engines, International Monetary Fund Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva said Monday night.

Delivering remarks for the opening ceremony of Boao Forum for Asia Annual Conference, Georgieva highlighted three major global changes, which include digital transformation that has been accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Among the economies that have the largest information and communication technology sector by share of gross domestic product, 13 of the top 30 are in the emerging world, she noted.

"To further seize this opportunity, governments should scale-up smart public investments -- especially in the digital skills and infrastructure to build a 21st century workforce," she said.

Another major global change, the IMF chief said, is the shift from deep recession to recovery.

The IMF's most recent forecast puts global growth at 6 percent this year and 4.4 percent in 2022, thanks to the "extraordinary interventions" by governments, and spurred by the prospect of expanding vaccinations, she said.

However, "we must not take the recovery for granted," as there is a dangerous divergence in economic fortunes across and within countries, she said, adding that vulnerable households and viable firms will need continued support so long as the crisis persists.

"As recovery takes hold, governments can gradually scale back support programs -- but scale up targeted hiring subsidies and retraining and reskilling," she added.

The third major change is the pivot to low-carbon and resilient growth in response to climate change, said the IMF chief, who welcomed China's commitment to reach net-zero by 2060.

According to IMF analysis, a coordinated green infrastructure push combined with carbon pricing could boost global GDP in the next 15 years by 0.7 percent per year, and create millions of jobs.

"In a world of change, one thing remains constant -- the importance of solidarity between countries," Georgieva said.

This has been a key feature of the crisis -- not just the exceptional fiscal and monetary measures, but also initiatives such as the Common Framework for orderly debt resolution, agreed by the Group of 20, and the possible new Special Drawing Rights allocation of $650 billion from the IMF, she continued.

"By further strengthening this kind of global cooperation, we can turn a world of change into a world of opportunity for all," she added.

Biz leader: Chinese market appealing to New Zealand

China's continual upgrading of consumer demand, increasing urbanization of its population and biggest market size remain appealing to New Zealand, and the complementarity between two countries is excellent in bilateral trade, said Ivan Kinsella, chairman of the New Zealand Business Roundtable in China at Boao Forum during an interview with China Daily.

He looked forward to an even better year in communication between the two countries, not only through good trade but also the services sector, such as tourism and international education.

Kinsella also spoke highly of China's strong economic recovery amid the post-pandemic era.

As China and New Zealand both signed the RCEP, Kinsella highlighted the importance of a regional trading framework that enhances world cooperation.

Watch the video to learn more.

Reporter: Ouyang Shijia

Video journalist: Wang Yuxi

Video editors: Zhao Shiyue and Zhao Tingting

Supervisor: Zhang Chunyan

Fincantieri CEO: 'Very optimistic' about China's future

"Considering the business environment in China, I think it's very strong and we are very optimistic about the future," said Fabrizio Ferri, CEO of Fincantieri China.

Ferri noted the holding of the Boao Forum on-site in Hainan Island shows China is able to manage the pandemic.

He also discusses the business environment in China, investment plans, the role of South China's Hainan province in opening-up and recent regional trade agreements for business.

Reporter: Ouyang Shijia

Video journalist: Wang Yuxi

Video editors: Wang Junwei, Zhao Shiyue and Zhao Tingting

Supervisor: Zhang Chunyan

Fonterra CEO: China has been 'most important' market

"China remains and has been for a long time the most important market and most significant market for Fonterra," said Teh-han Chow, Greater China CEO at Fonterra Co-operative Group.

Chow also discusses Chinese market development, business climate and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership.

Reporter: Liu Yuan

Coordinator: Chen Jia

Video journalist: Wang Yuxi

Video editors: Wang Junwei, Zhao Shiyue and Zhao Tingting

Supervisor: Zhang Chunyan

Logistics giant Maersk sees huge potential in China market
Maersk's intercontinental rail freight service between China and Europe provided an alternative solution for global supply chains with much faster growth in volume. [Photo/Maersk]

BOAO, Hainan -- China has embraced tremendous changes in the past two decades and has presented huge market potential with its endeavor to pursue high-quality development and promote regional connectivity, said Jens Eskelund, managing director of Maersk China Ltd.

"China joining the World Trade Organization (WTO) in 2001 was absolutely transformative," he told Xinhua in an exclusive interview on the sidelines of the annual conference of the Boao Forum for Asia.

Recalling the old days after having lived in China for three decades, Eskelund said the country was a reasonably big trading nation and an important one, but the size then was nowhere near that of today.

China's total imports and exports of goods expanded 1.9 percent year-on-year to 32.16 trillion yuan (about $4.94 trillion) last year, hitting a record high despite a worldwide slump in shipments.

"It is hard to overestimate how big a change joining the WTO has brought to China in basically any respect, especially in terms of personal income, quality of life and opportunities for young people in China," he said.

Looking forward, Eskelund said China's aim to help increase the disposable incomes of its people indicates that there will also be growth in consumption. "We expect that also translates into growth in trade."

Increasing people's incomes, boosting domestic consumption, and seeking to foster a world-class business environment, among others, are high on the agenda in a blueprint for China's development over the next five years and beyond.

Eskelund, who is also the vice-chairman of the European Chamber of Commerce in China, said another area of huge potential is trade in services between China and Europe. The two sides can work together to enhance mutual market access and cooperation.

Eskelund said he hopes China's opening-up trend that led to a surge of trade in goods between the two sides would continue.

When the COVID-19 pandemic induced huge challenges for maritime and air transports last year, Maersk's intercontinental rail freight service between China and Europe provided an alternative solution for global supply chains with much faster growth in volume.

The company had arranged a total of 210 tailored intercontinental trains from China to European countries including Germany and France.

Eskelund, however, noted that while China's ports and maritime transport are efficient, there is still a gap between the inland areas and big port cities.

Eskelund said that he has observed a very significant willingness and understanding of the ability of efficient logistics to foster economic growth in the inland areas.

"There's a very big potential in making logistics available on locations that are not very well connected with international trade routes," Eskelund added, hailing the concept of connectivity embedded in the country's Belt and Road Initiative.

"Over the years, we saw how China has gone out and focused on creating connectivity through building highways and container ports," he said.

Going out and creating the right infrastructure can be a powerful enabler of trade and bring countries together, Eskelund added.

New strategy to create 'promising market'
By OUYANG SHIJIA in Boao, Hainan
FAW-Volkswagen employees work on an assembly line at the automaker's Tianjin plant. [Provided to China Daily]

China is dedicated to opening its economy wider under the new dual-circulation development paradigm, with a key focus on building an open market and expanding institutional opening-up, while boosting innovation-driven development, experts said on Wednesday.

"China is set to become the world's largest and most promising market in the near future," said Zeng Peiyan, former vice-premier of China. "During the 14th Five-Year Plan period (2021-25), China will enter a new stage of pursing high-quality development driven by innovation and reforms."

Zeng told the Boao Forum for Asia Annual Conference 2021 that the new development pattern will fully unleash the potential of the domestic market. This will offer huge growth opportunities for all global stakeholders and create a vast market space to promote the global economic recovery.

Under the new development pattern, China will build a modern economic and governance system, enhance intellectual rights protections and create a market-oriented, law-based, and internationalized business environment, said Zeng.

"China will continue to promote opening-up based on the flow of goods and production factors and give greater emphasis to opening-up based on rules and related institutions, which will help China get better integrated into the global industrial and supply chain," he said.

Experts said while the new development strategy focuses more on expanding domestic markets, it does not mean the country will rely less on global integration.

Peng Sen, president of the China Society of Economic Reform, stressed that dual-circulation does not mean seclusion, but instead emphasizes further opening-up of the economy and actively participating in global governance, development and international circulation.

Zhu Min, an economist with Tsinghua University, said further opening-up is key to innovation-driven and high-quality development in the nation.

Several international firms said that intensified opening-up measures in the next five years will create several growth and investment opportunities in the nation, especially due to the huge growth potential of the domestic market.

"China exhibited strong resilience and solid growth despite COVID-19.It is the only major economy that recorded positive economic growth last year. We believe China's economy will remain robust and continue to lead global growth," said Juergen Schmitz, chief executive officer of Ergo China, a unit of German insurance firm Ergo.

Sean Shan, president of Takeda China, said the country's further opening-up will facilitate the upgrading of innovation capabilities in the biopharmaceutical industry and address the unmet needs of Chinese patients.

"We feel the local operating environment is favorable toward rewarding innovation. Progress has been made, particularly in our industry, to advance regulatory reform in China which supports innovative companies, both local and foreign," Shan said. "These (supportive) measures will also help sustain the growth of our business by accelerating and rewarding innovation, which is an opportunity for Takeda as we are set to launch more than 15 innovative medicines and future Wave 1 assets over the next five years."

Zheng Yiran contributed to this story.

Expert: Debt issues need elegant solution
By CHEN JIA in Boao, Hainan
Zhou Xiaochuan, former governor of the People's Bank of China, answers reporters' queries at the Boao Forum for Asia Annual Conference 2021. [Photo by Feng Yongbin/China Daily]

Former PBOC governor says write-offs may increase financial challenges

Appropriate measures should be adopted to sort out the debt repayment issues of emerging economies, instead of waiving off the debts altogether, a former Chinese central bank official said.

Zhou Xiaochan, former governor of the People's Bank of China, the central bank, said though many of the emerging economies are facing deteriorating financial conditions due to COVID-19, they will likely see an increase in the moral hazards and other related problems if the debts are written off altogether.

Due to the pandemic, fiscal support dwindled in several countries and governments had to leverage public funds to prevent risks and save lives. Lower income from exports led to a debt pileup, while falling foreign exchange earnings crimped repayment capabilities, Zhou said during a media conference at the Boao Forum for Asia Annual Conference 2021, which concluded on Wednesday.

According to Zhou, several low-income and some middle-income countries are facing debt repayment problems. As a result, it is necessary to consider the G20 consensus of delaying the principal and interest repayments of debt and accordingly reduce interest rates, he said.

The International Monetary Fund said in a recent report that timely fiscal support helped prevent severe economic contractions and larger job losses in several countries. But at the same time, it has also led to unprecedented increases in government deficits and debt, it said.

The average overall deficit as a share of GDP reached 11.7 percent for advanced economies, 9.8 percent for emerging market economies, and 5.5 percent for low-income developing countries last year, according to the IMF report.

Fiscal deficit is expected to shrink in most of the countries this year as the pandemic-related support expires or winds down, revenue recovers somewhat and unemployment claims decline, it said. Average public debt worldwide reached an unprecedented 97 percent of GDP last year and is projected to stabilize at around 99 percent of GDP in 2021.

Finance ministers and central bank governors of the G20 nations agreed earlier this month to extend the Debt Service Suspension Initiative to the end of this year to help the poor nations recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.

"The extension will allow beneficiary countries to mobilize more resources to face the crisis challenges and, where appropriate, to move to a more structural approach to address debt vulnerabilities," said a communique issued after the recent virtual meeting of G20 officials.

"China will strive to promote debt sustainability among the developing countries," Qian Keming, vice-minister of commerce, said at the Boao Forum on Tuesday.

"China has been an active participant in the G20 initiative on postponing debt repayments of poor nations. The nation will fully implement the debt applications that meet the requirements of the initiative in accordance with multilateral consensus, especially under the G20 framework, so as to make positive contributions to the poor nations in dealing with the epidemic situation and debt vulnerability," said Qian.

Experts said debt issues, including those related to the Belt and Road Initiative, are complicated, and the key to their resolution is development. Debt restructuring may not be the priority option as it could lead to a lowering of the sovereign rating and an increase in financing costs when the countries borrow foreign debt.

In the future, China will consider promoting infrastructure construction projects along the Belt and Road that can generate cash flows, which will help host countries increase their financial and foreign exchange income and improve their debt repayment capabilities, said Qian.

President's Boao speech wins praise overseas
By CHEN WEIHUA in Brussels, JAN YUMUL in Hong Kong,JAN YUMUL and LIU HONGJIE in Beijing
President Xi Jinping delivers the keynote speech via video at the opening ceremony of the Boao Forum for Asia Annual Conference on Tuesday. [Photo/Xinhua]

Experts from around the world applauded President Xi Jinping's keynote speech on Tuesday at the Boao Forum for Asia annual conference, where he called for upholding multilateralism, global cooperation and building a future of shared benefits.

In the speech titled "Pulling Together Through Adversity and Toward a Shared Future for All" and delivered via video link, Xi urged all countries to answer the "call of our times", defeat the pandemic through solidarity, strengthen global governance and keep pursuing a community with a shared future for mankind.

Erik Solheim, former executive director of the United Nations Environment Programme, said Xi gave an "impressive speech".

"It was a passionate call for a world of shared interest. We need to defend global cooperation in all areas and build upon win-win solutions," said Solheim, a Norwegian politician who also served as UN undersecretary-general.

"Together the world can fight the pandemic, poverty and environmental destruction. Divided we are weak," he said.

Henry Lim Bon Liong, president of the Federation of Filipino-Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry, said that Xi's speech was "reassuring, because he reaffirmed China's unwavering commitment to reforms, openness, multilateralism, innovation, cooperation and trade globalization".

Pakistan's first ever metro train service, the Orange Line, starts its commercial operation in Lahore, Oct 26, 2020. [Photo/Xinhua]

"I believe confidence in Asian and global economic recovery is accelerating, especially with the world's No 2 biggest economy, China, sustaining decisive economic growth," he said.

Dennis Munene, executive director for Nairobi-based China-Africa Center at Africa Policy Institute, said Xi's message at the forum was "loud and clear".

"The world needs a dialogue of humanity that is pegged on the ethos of multilateralism, strong global governance, solidarity, justice and not hegemony or unilateralism, in order to pursue a common goal of a shared future for mankind," he said.

Munene praised Xi for expressing his desire of "safeguarding the UN-centered international system, preserving the international order underpinned by international law and upholding the multilateral trading system with the World Trade Organization at its core".

"China wants to build a closer partnership for openness and inclusiveness, green development, closer connectivity and health cooperation within its Belt and Road Initiative that will act as a catalyst to spur global economic growth and development," he said.

Munene also praised China's quest to make COVID-19 vaccines a global public good and help developing countries that are on the verge of experiencing an economic recession contain the virus.

Shada Islam, head of the New Horizon Project, a Brussels-based global strategy and advisory company, stressed that it is time for the world to continue to battle the pandemic and its devastating impact on human lives and growth prospects amid vaccine nationalism.

"President Xi Jinping has sent a reassuring message that China is not ready to engage in a Cold War, which would pit nations against each other, but rather wants increased international cooperation on the R&D, joint production and distribution of vaccines as well as efforts to increase their accessibility and affordability in developing countries," she said.

Hosuk Lee-Makiyama, director of the European Centre for International Political Economy, said: "By reiterating its support for multilateral institutions, China makes a valid point that it accepts the rule-based global order. It is the West that is increasingly uneasy about a multilateral system where China participates on equal footing, and wishes to revise it."

He pointed out that China's economic leadership brings attention to regions that are normally in the blind spot of the United States and Europe.

"Some competition is good. Without China's vaccination efforts in Southeast Asia, or the BRI projects in Central Asia, the EU and the Quad would probably make less efforts to assist these regions," he said. The so-called Quad countries are Japan, India, the United States and Australia.

Makiyama, an economist and trade lawyer, said when Xi pledges to implement the Foreign Investment Law, economists understand how China is opening up its economy because there is a demand for foreign capital, and not necessarily due to foreign pressure.

He added that Europeans who believe the China-EU Comprehensive Agreement on Investment is a tool for political leverage against China are mostly economic illiterate.

Jade Currie, regional editor for Asia at research and publishing firm Oxford Business Group, said that the resumption of the Boao Forum for Asia, after its cancellation last year due to the pandemic, is in itself a promising sign for the region's recovery.

Roland Berger exec: Foreign firms view China favorably

Foreign companies were seeing the business environment quite favorably in China, said Denis Depoux, global managing director at Roland Berger in an interview at this year's Boao Forum for Asia.

Depoux praised China's actions to control the COVID-19 pandemic, and said that the country demonstrated an extraordinary resilience in its supply chain through the crisis, coming back to normal very rapidly last year, which is contributing to the global recovery.

He also said that Hainan offers a new framework which essentially pioneers some new features, and creates a good the portal for the development of new things, which can then roll out to the rest of China.

Reporter: Ouyang Shijia

Video journalist: Wang Yuxi

Video editors: Zhang Jie, Zhao Shiyue and Zhao Tingting

Supervisor: Zhang Chunyan

Merck China head says country is 'innovator'

China has gone from being a large market companies have focused on to an innovator of global trends, said Allan Gabor, president of Merck China, during an interview at this year's Boao Forum for Asia.

Gabor also shared his views on industrial internet, semiconductor shortage, Chinese market, the pandemic control in China and the Foreign Investment Law.

Gabor also said the BFA is a great place to connect with customers, stakeholders, and to hear thoughts and leading comments on trends.

Reporter: Ouyang Shijia

Video journalist: Wang Yuxi

Video editors: Zhang Jie, Zhao Shiyue and Zhao Tingting

Supervisor: Zhang Chunyan

Boao Forum for Asia important for world amid global challenges, says former Costa Rica president
Photo taken on April 17, 2021 shows the Boao Forum for Asia (BFA) International Conference Center in Boao Town, South China's Hainan province. [Photo/Xinhua]

SAN JOSE -- The Boao Forum for Asia, which started its annual conference Sunday in South China's Hainan province, is of great importance for the world amid various global challenges, former president of Costa Rica Jose Maria Figueres has said.

The forum is of "particular importance" as this year marks its 20th anniversary, Figueres said in an interview with Xinhua.

The past two decades are "a testament to its capacity, its leadership and the creative way in which it has managed to face and project all the political and economic efforts that throughout these years we have seen in Asia and, of course, in China," said the former president.

The participants of the forum will be able to find solutions to global problems that require coordination, said Figueres, who served as president of Costa Rica from 1994 to 1998.

This year's annual conference "is particularly relevant because it is the first to take place after the creation of the largest free trade area in the world, and I am sure that it will be the most important on the planet," Figueres said, referring to the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership.

Noting China is an engine of world economy, Figueres, a distinguished guest of the forum, highlighted China's role in promoting global economic recovery amid the pandemic.

"The recent news that China's first quarter economic growth has exceeded 18 percent (year-on-year) has surprised the world in a positive way," said Figueres, adding the figure means that the dynamism and entrepreneurship of the Chinese economy are beginning to boost the global economy.

China's growth target for 2021 is also "very good news," which will promote "the recovery of trade and improve welfare on the planet," he said.

The former president was also confident about the Belt and Road Initiative, which he believes is a form of peaceful and lasting cooperation between countries in search of greater well-being.

The initiative, "a breath of fresh air" for today's world, provides an opportunity to promote dialogue and joint development, and increase collaboration to solve global challenges, Figueres said.

China to jointly promote green development: central bank
A bird's-eye view of Boao in South China's Hainan province, on April 16, 2021. [Photo/IC]

BOAO, Hainan -- China will enhance communication and exchanges in green finance with countries around the world to jointly promote green development, an official with the central bank said Tuesday.

Asia has broad consensus on the green transformation of the economy, and major Asian economies have taken positive actions in this regard, Yi Gang, governor of the People's Bank of China, said at a sub-forum of the Boao Forum for Asia annual conference.

Enhancing international cooperation will be conducive to jointly promoting the development of green finance in Asia, Yi added.

From the perspective of the PBOC, two major tasks need to be continued -- implementation of green investment principles and strengthening the capacity for green development through various channels, he noted.

20 years on, Boao Forum witnesses China's integration with world
Photo taken on April 17, 2021 shows the Boao Forum for Asia (BFA) International Conference Center in Boao Town, South China's Hainan province. [Photo/Xinhua]

BOAO, Hainan -- This year marks the 20th anniversary of the Boao Forum for Asia (BFA), an increasingly influential platform that has witnessed China's opening up and integration with Asia and the global community.

The ongoing annual conference in Boao, a town in South China's Hainan province, has attracted 2,600 attendees, including government officials, entrepreneurs and scholars from over 60 countries and regions.

President Xi Jinping on Tuesday underscored the significance of the theme of the BFA annual conference 2021, which he said is convened against "a very special background."

The theme -- A World in Change: Join Hands to Strengthen Global Governance and Advance Belt and Road Cooperation -- is most opportune and relevant under the current circumstances, Xi said in a keynote speech delivered via video at the opening ceremony of the conference.

For the last 20 years, Chi Fulin, director of the Hainan-based China Institute for Reform and Development, has attended each annual conference.

"I have first-hand experience with the forum's growing influence and role. It has become an important international platform in China for Asia and the world," he said.

At the BFA annual conference in 2018, Xi announced a batch of opening-up measures, with the expectation that the country's opening-up efforts will benefit all enterprises and people in China and around the world as soon as possible.

The measures included significantly broadening market access, creating a more attractive investment environment, strengthening the protection of intellectual property rights and taking the initiative to expand imports, among others.

Faced with the economic downturn and the pandemic, participants have used the forum to engage in dialogues and identify new areas of collaboration.

China's recent opening-up measures, especially those in the financial sector, have created tremendous opportunities for multinationals to tap into, said Eddie Chen, head of China & Asia at Eurazeo, an investment company headquartered in France.

"One of the most exciting parts of doing business in China is that things are changing fast, and changes bring opportunities," he said, noting that the changes happening in China are positive ones.

The gathering of political leaders, entrepreneurs and experts has also transformed the once-obscure town of Boao.

Seeing opportunities brought by the forum, Jiang Xiang, a local resident, opened a bar by the seaside 10 years ago. "Without the BFA, I wouldn't have started my business because Boao town was very underdeveloped then, with little transportation and no industry," said Jiang, adding that the forum has attracted many people.

He said many people from various industries at home and abroad have come to meet and exchange, develop industries and travel in Boao. The bar has become a hotspot for tourists and received a large number of Chinese and foreign guests every year, especially during the conference.

"As long as there are people and there is opening up, there will be opportunities," Jiang said.

Chinese vice-president hopes for more Boao views
Chinese Vice-President Wang Qishan attends the Boao Forum for Asia (BFA) Annual Conference 2021 opening ceremony in Boao, South China's Hainan province, April 20, 2021. Wang met with members of the BFA board of directors and the forum's strategic partners, and exchanged views with representatives from the business circle. [Photo/Xinhua]

BOAO, Hainan -- Chinese Vice-President Wang Qishan Tuesday expressed the hope that the Boao Forum for Asia (BFA) can form more Boao views with Asian countries' wisdom to improve suggestions for the long-term development and prosperity in Asia.

Wang made the call Tuesday when meeting with members of the BFA board of directors and the forum's strategic partners. Wang attended the BFA Annual Conference 2021 opening ceremony on the same day and exchanged views with representatives from the business circle.

The world is currently undergoing new, complex and profound changes, and all parties need to strengthen exchanges, build consensus and cooperate to find ways to respond. Therefore, the forum is now experiencing a broad space for development, he said.

Wang encouraged people to grasp the pulse of the times and pay attention to the emerging new trends of international politics, economies, societies, cultures and ecological civilization to promote all parties to meet challenges and share opportunities.

It is necessary to strengthen the construction of talent teams and think tanks to provide more intellectual support for governments and enterprises to carry out pragmatic cooperation, he said.

BFA Chairman Ban Ki-moon, members of the BFA board of directors and representatives from BFA strategic partners expressed their readiness to provide experience and insights for promoting multilateralism, opening-up and inclusiveness.

When meeting with entrepreneurs, Wang stressed that glory and suffering accompany each other. People must stay calm and sober through historical, cultural and philosophical thinking and build confidence and patience.

"There is no end to development, reform and opening-up," he said.

Entrepreneurs attending the meeting said that China's proposals and the super-resilient economy of China are exciting. They said they would seize the opportunity to deeply integrate into China's fostering of a new development paradigm and commit to jointly building the Belt and Road Initiative.

Hong Kong, Macao urge innovative development in Greater Bay Area
Photo taken on April 20, 2021 shows a view of a sub-forum "Invigorate Development through Vibrant City Clusters: The Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area as a Model" during Boao Forum for Asia annual conference in Boao, South China's Hainan province. [Photo/Xinhua]

BOAO, Hainan -- Attendees from Hong Kong and Macao at the annual meeting of the Boao Forum for Asia (BFA) on Tuesday called for technological innovation to spur high-quality development of the city cluster in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area.

As one of the core cities in the Greater Bay Area, Hong Kong has strong basic scientific research capabilities and sound financial services, Carrie Lam, Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, said at a sub-forum of the annual meeting.

After integrating into the development of the Greater Bay Area, Hong Kong can promote high-quality development of the whole region by giving full play to the region's manufacturing competitiveness and huge market potential, Lam said.

To achieve technological innovation-driven development, the area needs to accelerate the flow of production factors and attract more scientific research staff, Lam said.

Each city should have a reasonable layout and division of labor and plan its own complementary development and win-win results, said Ho Hau-wah, vice-chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference.

Ho called to promote industrial innovation with technological innovation, upgrade the industrial chain, and explore new cooperation models between Guangdong, Hong Kong, and Macao to promote the Greater Bay Area's integrated development to a higher level.

Lei Wai-nong, Secretary for Economy and Finance of the Government of Macao Special Administrative Region, said Macao can provide legal and commercial services for the trade of commodities, textiles, and mechanical and electrical products between China and Portuguese-speaking countries.

Nation to spur green projects in BRI areas
By OUYANG SHIJIA in Boao, Hainan
The media center for the Boao Forum for Asia Annual Conference 2021 in Hainan province. [Photo by Feng Yongbin/China Daily]

China will encourage the construction of green infrastructure in countries and regions participating in the Belt and Road Initiative, to foster sustainable and high-quality development of the global economy, officials and experts said on Tuesday.

Qian Keming, vice-minister of commerce, said the nation will focus on promoting green and low-carbon energy in markets along the Belt and Road and developing efficient, clean and renewable energies such as gas, solar, wind power, hydropower and nuclear power.

"China has already built many green infrastructure projects with economies along the Belt and Road," Qian said at the Boao Forum for Asia Annual Conference 2021 on Monday.

Enterprises will be encouraged to adopt high standards in planning, design and construction of infrastructure projects overseas, advance green construction and adopt new environment-friendly technologies, equipment and materials. In addition, the green development concept will be integrated into the whole process of outbound investment and overseas cooperation, Qian said.

As a next step, China will also come out with steps to promote sustainability in developing countries through the Belt and Road Initiative, said Qian.

Zhou Xiaochuan, former governor of the People's Bank of China, the central bank, said green development is essential for the sustainable development of infrastructure and industrial investment in countries and regions along the Belt and Road.

In the last few years, China and economies participating in the Belt and Road Initiative have been actively carrying out cooperation and promoting the implementation of a number of green, low-carbon and sustainable clean energy projects. For instance, the photovoltaic power plant project in Ethiopia helped more than 2,000 households and nearly 6,000 people to gain access to clean power.

Looking ahead, global business leaders believe that international cooperation along the Belt and Road will strengthen further and create more growth opportunities for China and rest of the world.

"China is the source of growth for us," said Juergen Schmitz, chief executive officer of Ergo China, a unit of German insurance firm Ergo. "We are happy that China has maintained strong growth momentum despite the economic turmoil and even more excited to participate in this market and grow together with China."

Wei Jiang, president of Bayer Group Greater China, said openness and cooperation are the only ways to promote the steady development of human society in a world facing enormous challenges and opportunities.

Zheng Yiran contributed to this story.

Financial support urged to attain carbon targets
By CHEN JIA in Boao, Hainan
Aerial photo taken on Aug 19, 2020 shows wind turbines in Jiucaiping scenic spot in Southwest China's Guizhou province. [Photo/Xinhua]

China's central bank chief vowed on Tuesday to mobilize financial support from all parties to realize the goal of the nation achieving carbon neutrality by 2060, and called for promoting a deepened opening-up of the domestic green financial market to foreign investors.

Yi Gang, governor of the People's Bank of China, said that the nation, which has issued the largest amount of green loans in the world, will continue to open up the financial sector and facilitate the participation of international investors in its green finance market.

"We will continue to expand foreign financial institutions' business scope and further promote the two-way opening-up of the capital market," Yi said during a roundtable discussion at the ongoing Boao Forum for Asia Annual Conference 2021 in Hainan province.

In terms of specific measures to boost green financing, the central bank plans to develop a mandatory disclosure system that would require all financial institutions and firms to follow unified disclosure standards, he said.

The central bank has included green bonds and green credit into the eligible collateral of central bank lending facilities and would create tools to encourage financial institutions to finance emission reduction.

"We will step up support for carbon emission reduction by leveraging commercial bank ratings, deposit insurance rates, and a macro-prudential assessment framework," Yi added.

Yi Gang, governor of the People's Bank of China. [Photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn]

The central bank has said it will include climate change factors in its monetary policy framework. Relending is one of the available and effective financial tools to promote large-scale green loans, and the central bank is researching other measures, said Ma Jun, director of the Green Finance Commission under the China Society for Finance and Banking, who is also a former member of the central bank's monetary policy committee.

China's commitment to achieve carbon neutrality by 2060 will lead to a restructuring of the economy, and the financial sector may play a big role in this transition, Zhu Min, a former deputy managing director of the International Monetary Fund, said at the forum on Monday.

An analysis from the IMF showed that a coordinated green infrastructure push, combined with carbon pricing, could boost global GDP in the next 15 years by 0.7 percent annually and create millions of jobs.

Yi, the central bank governor, also called for international cooperation, pledging to continue to implement green investment principles, such as the Green Investment Principles for the Belt and Road, which 39 Chinese and foreign financial institutions have joined so far.

"The PBOC will continue to help developing countries strengthen their capacity building in green finance to better support their green transition and cope with climate change," Yi said.

"We also support multilateral development institutions in tapping their expertise to provide targeted capacity-building assistance to developing countries in need."

Quotable quotes from Boao Forum

Editor's note: Themed "A World in Change: Join Hands to Strengthen Global Governance and Advance Belt and Road Cooperation," this year's Boao Forum for Asia annual conference is ongoing in Boao, a coastal town in China's southern Hainan province, attracting more than 2,600 delegates from over 60 countries and regions.

Here are some of the quotable quotes captured from the forum.

Long Yongtu, former vice-minister of foreign trade. [Photo/boaoforum.org]

Long Yongtu, former vice-minister of foreign trade and former secretary-general of the Boao Forum for Asia

The signing of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) agreement brought a message to Asia and the world, that is, globalization is still promising and the trend of economic globalization is unstoppable.

The Asia-Pacific region has gained more weight as an economic powerhouse in recent years, and with the signing of the RCEP, the transition seems to be more obvious.

China has signed the RCEP and is preparing to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership through negotiations, which may help to merge these two mechanisms into the largest trade agreement in the Asia-Pacific region, according to Long. "That should be our target."

Fang Xinghai, vice-chairman of the China Securities Regulatory Commission. [Photo/boaoforum.org]

Fang Xinghai, vice-chairman of the China Securities Regulatory Commission

China will further create conditions to attract more foreign capital into the A-share market, Fang said, adding that the scale of foreign capital has been increasing in China's stock market since 2018.

"As more foreign capital flows into the Chinese market, it will have a rising role in market pricing."

The CSRC will further create conditions to enhance the inclusion of A-shares in major global indexes to attract more foreign capital, Fang added.

Yi Gang, governor of the People's Bank of China. [Photo/Chinanews.com]

Yi Gang, governor of the People's Bank of China

China, which has issued the largest amount of green loans in the world, will continue to open up the financial sector and facilitate the participation of international investors in its green finance market.

In terms of specific measures to boost green financing, the central bank plans to develop a mandatory disclosure system that would require all financial institutions and firms to follow unified disclosure standards, he said.

"We will step up support for carbon emission reduction by leveraging commercial bank ratings, deposit insurance rates, and a macro-prudential assessment framework," Yi added.

Zhou Xiaochuan, former governor of the People's Bank of China. [Photo/boaoforum.org]

Zhou Xiaochuan, former governor of the People's Bank of China

Zhou stressed that both digital currencies and digital assets should closely serve the real economy, which is a substantial consideration in China's financial regulatory policy creation.

The development of the digital yuan initially targets China's vast retail market of 1.4 billion people. "We hope to offer the public a more convenient and effective payment method via technological progress."

Speaking of the use of central bank digital currencies in cross-border payments, Zhou highlighted its complexity as every country needs to ensure its monetary sovereignty.

Jin Liqun, president of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank. [Photo/boaoforum.org]

Jin Liqun, president of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank

Many developing countries are experiencing a debt problem. The countries with higher debt should use new capital to maintain economic growth, and ensure its international rating at a higher level.

At present, the top priority is to control the pandemic. Only a healthy country can have productive powers, and maintain its sustainable development in the long term, Jin said.

"Once the COVID-19 pandemic is controlled, we should return to new and normal investment for infrastructure and other projects as soon as possible. Quality is the most important. We should work together to help developing countries improve the quality of infrastructure, then their debt problem will be solved as time goes on."

Li Bo, deputy governor of the People's Bank of China. [Photo/CCTV]

Li Bo, deputy governor of the People's Bank of China

China considers Bitcoin and Stablecoin as cryptoassets, which means they are not seen as real currencies, but only as investment assets. The nation is planning to improve the regulatory environment for these alternative investments, to ensure that speculative activity will not result in serious financial risks. 

"There is no detailed timetable on the progress of the digital yuan," Li said adding that there are still things to be done before the nationwide rollout of the digital currency, including increasing the number of trials and expanding its scope.

Li said authorities are considering launching trials in more cities and having them cover more usage scenarios to enhance the eco-system of the digital yuan.

Qian Keming, vice-minister of commerce. [Photo/boaoforum.org]

Qian Keming, vice-minister of commerce

Since the Belt and Road Initiative was proposed in 2013, China's trade with countries along the Belt and Road has reached $9.2 trillion, with outbound foreign direct investment of $136 billion.

During the same period, the value of its newly signed engineering contracts with involved nations amounted to $940.9 billion, with business revenue of $638.9 billion.

Over the past eight years, countries along the Belt and Road established about 27,000 companies in China, with total investment of $59.9 billion. During the first quarter of this year, a total of 1,241 new companies were set up, an increase of 44 percent year-on-year, while actual investment rose 64.6 percent to $3.25 billion.

Global cross-border investment experienced some decline due to the COVID-19 pandemic, however, Belt and Road investment saw stable growth, Qian added.

Dong Mingzhu, chairwoman of Gree Electric Appliances. [Photo/boaoforum.org]

Dong Mingzhu, chairwoman of Gree Electric Appliances

For Dong, the era of livestreaming is coming. With the development of internet, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, traditional offline sales patterns have been challenged. The internet not only changed people's thinking, but also their behavior.

Furthermore, in the past, enterprises usually guaranteed product quality via human resources and material. Now, with the help of internet, enterprises can accurately control product quality via big data processing.

Innovation is everywhere, Dong said. If an enterprise doesn't innovate, it will be out of the market. In the era of internet, manufacturing enterprises should face challenges bravely. This is the principle we should stick to. "Manufacturing is the root, however, internet is the wings that can make us fly higher."

Hainan reaches nearly 100 billion yuan in duty-free sales
By Ma Zhiping in Boao, Hainan
Customers visit Sanya Hailyu Duty-Free City on its opening day in Sanya, Hainan province, on Dec 30 last year. Three duty-free shopping centers in Sanya opened on that day. [Photo/China News Service]

Hainan has sold about 98 billion yuan of duty-free goods in the past 10 years, with more than 25 million people shopping and about 120 million pieces of items sold, according to a news conference marking the 10th anniversary of the implementation of offshore duty-free shopping in South China's Hainan province.

Introduced in Hainan on April 20, 2011 to boost development of Hainan Island as an international tourist destination, the offshore duty-free policy has been continuously adjusted and upgraded regarding per capital duty-free shopping quotas, number of shopping items and times, and ranges of commodity varieties for the benefits and convenience of tourists, officials said at the meeting.

The latest move was made on July 1, which increased the annual tax-free shopping quota per person from 30,000 yuan to 100,000 yuan and has turned the island into a duty-free shopping hub, as the nation vowed to build the tropical island into an international tourism consumption center.

"Starting from scratch, the offshore duty-free shopping business is growing rapidly in Hainan. The local customs supervision now covers all links —imports of duty-free goods, their stocking, marketing and delivery to the customers. Risk control and product inspection is being strengthened to ensure all duty-free goods are safe and genuine," said Huang Tingting, head of the supervision department with Haikou Customs.

Huang said Haikou Customs has cracked down on 79 smuggling gangs in the past two years, involving 250 million yuan in total value, and enforced tighter controls over the grey market driven by daigou, professional shoppers who buy duty-free goods from shops in Hainan on behalf of customers in other parts of the country. More than 8,000 individuals who were found to have engaged in illegal daigou in Hainan have been punished since July, and they were not allowed to enjoy the duty-free shopping policy in Hainan for three years.

Offshore duty-free sales in Hainan, known as China's Hawaii, are expected to reach 60 billion yuan in 2021, doubling the annual record for the second year in a row, as fine-tuned favorable policies continue to draw more consumers, said provincial governor Feng Fei.

Supported by comparatively fast economic recovery and continuing preferential policies, the tropical resort island has become a rare bright spot in the global luxury market, which has been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic, experts said.

Analysts with Bain & Company said even when Chinese shoppers can travel again, they will continue to buy at home as brands are investing in more stores in China and expanding their e-commerce offerings.

A new event, the first China International Consumer Products Expo, to be held in capital Haikou from May 7 to 10, is expected to spur new optimism among overseas brand producers. A total of 1,193 brands from 648 overseas exhibitors will showcase their top-notch items at the expo — including fashion, jewelry, and supplements,— which is set to be one of China's top-four national exhibition events, according to the provincial government.

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