Asian economic cooperation was the topic of discussion at a Sunday morning roundtable meeting of the heads of the Asia Cooperation Dialogues (ACD), Boao Forum for Asia (BFA), Northeast Asia Economic Conference Organizing Committee, South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC), Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) and UNDP Tumen Secretariat.
The meeting was arranged during the BFA Annual Conference 2004 to strengthen information exchange and cooperation between these Asian subregional organizations.
Asian economic cooperation and integration is one of the main themes at this year’s BFA conference.
“The Boao Forum seeks to provide such a platform,” said BFA Secretary-General Long Yongtu. “I hope such meeting can be standard in subsequent BFA sessions.”
Long said that subregional organizations have developed quickly in the past several years. “The SAARC has made progress in free trade agreement negotiations, and the SCO set up its secretariat in Beijing in January, expanding its areas from politics and regional security to economic issues.”
Sorajak Kasemsuvan, Thailand’s vice minister for foreign affairs, said Asian economic cooperation is crucial and urgent. He spoke on behalf of ACD, which was proposed and is coordinated by Thailand.
“The BFA and ACD are sister forums: they target the same goal of promoting Asian cooperation,” said Kasemsuvan. “BFA is on track one, focusing on non-governmental cooperation, while ACD is the track two, aiming to strengthen government-level collaboration. They are complementary.”
Asia has numerous subregional organizations devoted to solving regional issues in economy, politics, culture and the like. A growing trend in regionalism in economic issues stems from the stagnation of multilateral trade negotiations.
(China.org.cn by staff reporter Tang Fuchun April 25, 2004)