Boao Forum for Asia Declaration on Economic Globalization
(Passed by the BFA Board of Directors Meeting & BFA General Meeting of Members)
March 24, 2017
The aim of the Boao Forum for Asia (BFA) is to promote and deepen the economic exchange, coordination, and cooperation within Asia and between Asia and other parts of the world. At present, the pressures on global growth and the increase in de-globalization and trade protectionist rhetoric and actions have caused serious concerns about possible disruptions to global trade and growth. Facing this situation, Asian countries should stay committed to the course of open markets, inclusive growth and continued economic cooperation to ensure shared prosperity and sustainable growth in the region.
Economic globalization is a natural outcome of scientific breakthroughs and technological progress. In the past decades, it has powered global growth, and enabled steady progress in poverty alleviation worldwide. Economic globalization has also caused new problems that should not be neglected.
The root cause of these structural problems is not economic globalization per se, but the failure of the existing systems of global governance to keep up with profound changes in the world economic landscape. Thus, de-globalization measures are unlikely to solve the problems, and could even create new challenges for global growth. The world must actively adapt to the force of economic globalization and reform global governance.
With this in mind, BFA members attending the annual conference 2017, make the following appeal to all national governments and the global business community:
First, governments should recognize economic globalization as a positive force, and commit to reform and strengthen the international economic order and global governance system through enhanced dialogue and cooperation under the principles of economic sovereignty as well as equity and reciprocity of rights and obligations. Governments must go hand in hand with policies to ensure that its benefits are more widely shared. We need to strike a balance between growth and distribution, and address structural problems that undermine this balance.
Second, as liberalization of cross-border trade and investment is the driver of sustainable global development, governments should reject trade protectionism, jointly uphold and promote trade and investment liberalization and facilitation, and continue to reform and improve multilateral trade and investment mechanisms and governance to ensure global prosperity.
Third, recognizing the fragmentation of global trade where less than half of the 600+ FTAs/RTAs (Free trade agreements/regional trade agreements) are actually functional, international and regional organizations such as the WTO and APEC should work together to address the situation and work towards a more open, inclusive, fair and equitable bilateral and multilateral trade system.
Fourth, while pursuing internal reform, multilateral financial institutions such as the IMF and World Bank should strengthen and improve supervision of global finance, give full support to cross-border capital flows as an essential driver of economic growth, and make serious efforts to prevent and mitigate the adverse impacts caused by speculation or arbitrage on the part of “footloose” capital on the real economy.
Fifth, recognizing that technological innovation and cross-border movement of knowledge and information have helped to narrow the development gap between North and South and between rich and poor, governments should explore diverse forms of cross-border public private partnerships (PPP) to actively promote technological innovation and facilitate cross-border movement of knowledge and information to the benefit of people of all social strata in all countries and regions.
Sixth, to ensure balance in economic globalization, international organizations and multilateral mechanisms such as the G20 and APEC, national governments, as well as the private sector should support and help build an open mechanism for multilateral cooperation and jointly promote infrastructure, institutional and people-to-people connectivity.
BFA and BFA members stand ready to strengthen communication, coordination and cooperation in the aforementioned areas, and play their unique roles to bring about greater openness, inclusiveness, mutual benefit and balance in economic globalization.