World Chinese business summit in Macao looks at power of China-ASEAN cooperation
The China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative is conducive for strengthening regional cooperation and collaboration for common prosperity, speakers told a recent forum in Macao.
The Philippines, a maritime member state of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, is keen to explore new opportunities as China works to revive the ancient maritime Silk Road that once passed through Southeast Asia, said Delia D. Albert, a former foreign secretary of the Philippines. The 21st Century Maritime Silk Road is a key component of the BRI, which also includes the land route of the Silk Road Economic Belt.
Albert, who is also a senior adviser of leading Philippine professional services firm SGV & Co, was speaking at the 2019 World Chinese Business and Economic Summit (WCBES) held in Macao on Oct 17-18.
Giving the example of how China used to export its silk and porcelain products to Europe through Manila, Albert said China had been a great partner of Southeast Asian countries since ancient times.
And their partnership has been successfully revived in recent years. By the end of 2018, China had been ASEAN’s largest trading partner for nine years straight. ASEAN became China’s second-largest trading partner, after the European Union, in the first half of 2019.
In September, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte concluded his fifth visit to China in three years. Albert said the frequent visits were because the Philippines could benefit from the BRI to enhance the connectivity of the archipelago of 7,000 islands. The BRI could also help to achieve the Master Plan on ASEAN Connectivity 2025, a priority task for the bloc of 10 countries.
Under the theme “Enhancing Partnerships and Shared Prosperity through the BRI”, the summit brought together government officials, industry leaders and experts to share their insight and perspectives on the BRI. The summit was co-organized by the Kingsley Strategic Institute for Asia Pacific with other regional organizations. China Daily is the summit’s media partner.
Malaysian Minister of Primary Industries Teresa Kok said in her opening remarks that the summit provided an “excellent platform” to connect the East and the West through the global Chinese diaspora like herself.
One of the panelists at the summit, Chin Yew Sin, an adviser for the Asia Pacific region at the Global One Belt One Road Association, said the construction of sea port connectivity should be promoted under the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road as this is important for exporting goods and will help reduce transportation costs.
Ravindra Ngo, president of the Cambodian Association of Hong Kong, said digital connectivity through smart cities and new technologies is also an essential element of the BRI.
“The economic opportunity (of the BRI) is the bond that brings us together,” said Wang Huiyao, a counselor of the State Council, China’s Cabinet, and president of the Beijing-based Center for China and Globalization, a co-organizer of the WCBES.
He said the challenge for the region will be to build a new leading powerhouse. In this regard, he thinks the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area in China will be the next innovation powerhouse for Asia.
As an important support pillar for the BRI, the Bay Area comprises nine Pearl River Delta cities in South China’s Guangdong province and the two special administrative regions of Hong Kong and Macao.
HONG KONG NEWS