BOAO, Hainan: With the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) continuing to expand membership, AIIB President Jin Liqun said no countries will be left behind under the globalization efforts, including China’s Belt and Road Initiative.
Jin made this assurance during the plenary session of the Boao Forum for Asia Annual Conference 2017 under a theme “Globalization & Free Trade: the Asian Perspectives” being held in this fast growing tropical province of China.
”I would like to make a point that there are no losers in globalized economy. All will have benefits in various degrees,” said Jin, one of the plenary session panelists.
Jin said AIIB has 57 founding members and has just accepted 13 new countries and regions as members while 15 more will soon join the organization.
AIIB, which was initially proposed during the Boao Forum in 2009, is an international financial institution which aims to support building of infrastructures particularly along the One Belt, One Road that Chinese President Xi Jingping initiated in 2013.
The AIIB head said a grand vision is needed to boost connectivity for a shared objective in promoting economic, social and cultural development.
”So that’s the grand objective, grand vision of the 57 founding members of the AIIB. All these countries have shared vision of promoting connectivity, infrastructure investment to prepare the path for shared benefits,” he explained.
Jin made his reaction after fellow panel member, Singapore Senior Emeritus Goh Chok Tong, said that while economic benefits of globalization are cleared, “there are also losers” in the globalized economy.
Goh Chok Tong admitted that globalization cannot be stopped but it will also displace workers with the coming of new technology.
”We need to address the negative aspect of the globalization: those who will be left behind. Create jobs for those will be displaced by training, retraining and reeducation,” he said.
Jin said all the infrastructure projects under AIIB will benefit and “people would stand to gain rather than to lose from these kind of investment.”
Meanwhile, Takashi Shiraishi, president of the National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies (GRIPS) in Japan, said he is hoping that his country will take time to revisit its decision not to join the AIIB.
”The people in Asia are very receptive about the globalization,” Takashi said.
United States trade representative Mike Froman agreed that system of globalization efforts in China and Asia “is working fairly for everybody.”
For his part, former France Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin believed that openness would play vital role in global economic progress.
”We are hopeful that openness will be progressing because I firmly believe that nationalism, protectionism and all of those closed-loop mindset might invite major political issues and threats such as terrorism,” Raffarin said.
Raffarin said the world today is very dangerous and have so many risks, “therefore there is a need for cooperation and openness.”
”President Xi said in the previous forum that only through cooperation will ensure success of everybody and that’s why we support openness and globalization that we are having today,” Raffarin said.
Another panelist Former New Zealand Prime Minister Jennifer Shipley is also supporting globalization efforts in China, saying her country is one of the founding members of AIIB.
”Globalization should be supported by strategic investment strategies and that’s one of the reason New Zealand is one of those who first joined the AIIB to give people of the possibility of succeeding,” she said.
Central Bank of China Governor Zhou Xiaochuan said globalization cannot be avoided whether it is welcome or not “since it is already happening already.”
He said negative effect of globalization mainly comes from employment, saying countries should focus on retraining workers in other areas to improve their knowledge and skill set.
During the formal opening ceremony on Saturday, Chinese President Xi Jingping sent a letter, applauding the efforts of the Boao Forum for Asia for the last 16 years for advancing cooperation an bolstering Asian influence.
In his speech, Chinese Vice Primer Zhang Gaoli said China will continue to open its doors to global investors to ensure steady economic growth.
He promised to improve China’s environment for attract more investors and to ensure balance and health growth.
This year’s Boao Forum for Asia meeting focuses on free and fair trade, improving regional cooperation and facilitating innovation and technology to generate new growth.
The formal opening ceremony was attended by President Hery Martial Rajoanarimampiannia, Micronesia President Peter Christian, Myanmar Vice President U Myint Swe, Nepal Prime Minister Puspa Kamal Dahal, Afghanistan and Upper House Speaker Fazel Hadi Muslimyar.
Former Philippines President Fidel V. Ramos along with former Australian Prime Minister Bob Hawke and former Japanese Prime Minister Morihiro Hosokawa initiated the Boao Forum in 1998 to promote regional economic integration and to bring Asian countries closer in a bid to achievement inclusive developments in the region.