By Xu Xiujun
The Boao Forum for Asia (BFA)’s annual conference, held from March 28 to 31 in Boao, a coastal town in China’s island province of Hainan, has attracted global attention.
As world recovery remains sluggish, Asia, the world’s most dynamic and promising region, is seeing greater endogenous growth momentum and will inject a strong impetus into the recovery of the global economy.
The BFA Asian Economic Outlook and Integration Progress Annual Report 2023 points out that as a major engine of the world economy, Asia is expected to accelerate its pace in overall economic recovery in 2023. This report estimates that the weighted real GDP growth rate of Asia in 2023 would be 4.5 percent, an increase from 4.2 percent in 2022, making it a standout performer in view of the global economic slowdown.
China will unquestionably be the largest driver of Asia’s economic growth this year. After the country optimized its COVID-19 response measures, it has witnessed a rapid recovery of its economic and social vitality.
The Chinese government has launched a series of policies that accelerated the pace of economic pickup and boosted market confidence. Many international organizations have lifted their forecast on the growth of the Chinese economy, which they believe will also spur the growth of Asia as a result.
Given the uprising of unilateralism and protectionism, the global trade dependence on Asia has remained stable overall, with trade dependence between Asian economies standing at a relatively high level.
Trade and economic relations between Asian economies have become closer with the active participation and promotion of China.
According to statistics released by the General Administration of Customs of China, the country’s total trade in goods hit a record high of 42.07 trillion yuan ($6.11 trillion) in 2022, topping the world for six consecutive years.
The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) remained China’s largest trading partner, with bilateral trade in goods reaching 6.52 trillion yuan, up 15 percent from a year ago. South Korea, Japan, India and other Asian economies were important trading partners of China as well.
China is accelerating the establishment of a new development paradigm with domestic circulation as the mainstay and domestic and international circulations reinforcing each other. This provides new impetus and opportunities for strengthening China’s economic and trade cooperation with other Asian economies.
The country’s high-quality implementation of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership also creates more dividends of institutional opening up for regional economic integration.
Last year, the 17th Group of 20 Summit and the 29th Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Economic Leaders’ Meeting were held in Indonesia and Thailand, respectively. This mirrored a more active leading role played by Asia in global economic governance.
In terms of trade and investment governance, Asian countries proactively safeguard multilateralism, advocate trade and investment liberalization and facilitation, support the multilateral trading system with the World Trade Organization at its core, and work for positive progress in the reform of the system.
In monetary and financial governance, Asian countries actively promote the construction of regional and global financial security networks, push for the settlement in local currency and currency swap within the region, and support the reform of international financial institutes.
With regard to improving global development governance, Asian countries have actively responded to the Global Development Initiative, promoted the high-quality development of the Belt and Road Initiative through joint efforts, and implemented the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, to steer global development toward a new stage of balanced, coordinated and inclusive growth.
It is the solidarity and cooperation between Asian countries and their peoples that leads Asia to prosperity. The “Asian Miracle” calls for the endogenous impetus of Asia’s development. As the largest Asian economy, China will continue providing new opportunities for the continent’s progress with its own development.
By Xu Xiujun