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China says Integration to bolster Asia’s competitiveness

China called on Asian economies to seek greater economic integration to boost regional competitiveness so as to better address challenges amid rising protectionism and unilateralism.

‘Against the backdrop of economic uncertainties, Asian economies maintained a sound momentum of steady growth, contributing to around 60 percent of global GDP growth over the past decade or so,’ said Li Baodong, secretary-general of the Boao Forum for Asia, at a news conference on March 26 in Boao, Hainan province.

Uncertainties mainly arise from protectionism and potential financial tightening, leading economists and experts said prior to the forum, which will officially begin on March 28.

‘To drive the regional economy to be more balanced and healthy, Asian economies should unite to promote multilateralism and globalization,’ he said.

Li made the remarks after three annual reports – Progress of Asian Economic Integration, Asian Competitiveness, and Development of Emerging Economies – were released in Boao.

They highlighted that despite economic headwinds, Asian economies have witnessed a sound and steady improvement in competitiveness and have been actively promoting the process of integration.

According to the reports, up 17 new agreements to facilitate economic cooperation were signed in 2017 and 2018, and another 70 bilateral agreements are currently being negotiated. All the 37 Asian economies listed in the reports scored higher year-on-year in terms of competitiveness.

Long Yongtu, former vice-minister of the then Ministry of Foreign Trade and Economic Cooperation, pointed out that China has taken the lead in opening wider to make bigger contributions to economic globalization.

A case in point is that the country’s Belt and Road Initiative has vigorously furthered the economic integration of Asia over the past six years.
Source: The Central People’s Government of the People’s Republic of China

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