By Kris Crismundo
BOAO, Hainan Province — The three economic powerhouses – the United States, the European Union (EU), and China – are urged to cooperate and resolve differences in order to secure a stable global economic growth.
In the Progress of Asian Economic Integration 2019 report released in this year’s Boao Forum for Asia (BFA), it said that the US, the EU, and China can lead the world in upholding the multilateral trading system, otherwise they will create competing trade blocs.
“If these three powers were able to reach consensus on major issues, the multilateral trading system is going to be stable and WTO (World Trade Organization) be revitalized,” the BFA report noted.
“[A] cooperative solution to the disagreements by these three global trading centers – the US, EU, and China — is the key to steer the world in the right direction,” it added.
Major issues where these economic blocs have differences include agriculture, services, dispute settlement, distorted subsidies, and special and differential treatment as well as developing issues such as digital trade, global value chain, and investment facilitation, among others.
“If these three powers were not able to reach agreement, the multilateral trading system may possibly split into competing trade blocs and the importance of WTO might be downgraded,” the report said.
The BFA urged the US, the EU, and China to act quickly and adopt a cooperative and constructive approach in resolving these differences.
The US, the EU, and China account for 40 percent of world trade and the major sources of foreign direct investments.
In his speech Thursday, BFA Chairman Ban Ki-moon said there is no alternative solution for all nations’ common challenges but to work together and boost cooperation.
“We must work together under the multilateral framework through close coordination, cooperation, and with concerted actions. The best response to keep globalization is an open, inclusive, and balanced approach that brings world’s countries, people, towards the path of common development,” Ban stressed.
Ban also urges the BFA participants to adopt the consensus and solutions reached during this year’s forum to their respective countries and translate these into policies.
“I wish to see such consensus and solutions be brought back to your countries and translate it into policies and actions that could change Asia and the world for better,” he said.
More than 2,000 participants are attending the BFA here in Boao in China’s southernmost province of Hainan from March 26 to 29.
BFA gathers leaders from the government, business, and the academe in Asia to discuss major issues in the region and share possible solutions to challenges in order to promote regional economic integration.
Former Philippine President Fidel Ramos is one of the founders of the BFA in 1998, along with former Australian Prime Minister Bob Hawke and former Japanese Prime Minister Morihiro Hosokawa. (PNA)