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Boao Forum to Discuss New Opportunities for Asia
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Long Yongtu, secretary-general of the Boao Forum for Asia (BFA), announced at a press conference yesterday that the BFA Annual Conference 2006 will be convened on Aril 22-23 in Boao, a scenic town in south China's Hainan Province.

In line with the BFA's mission statement -- 'Asia Searching for Win-Win' -- the main theme at this year's conference is, "New opportunities for Asia: driving growth to new levels."

Topics with titles such as 'New visions and models for economic cooperation,' 'Building world class capital markets in Asia' and 'Innovation and sustainable success' will be highlighted at the conference.

In addition to a range of general topics conference delegates will hold in-depth discussions on business sectors that are causing particular concern or are of strong interest to delegates. According to Long these may include the IT/Internet sectors, the automotive industry and real estate. 

"This is only the fifth year of the BFA, but despite a short history, it has established itself with government and business leaders -- not just in Asia but around the world -- as a leading international forum on economic issues," said Long.

"The BFA serves as an important platform for Asian as well as world government and business leaders to meet, discuss issues of common concern and agree on mutually beneficial and workable forward strategies for the future of the Asian and global economies."

Those attending the conference are past and present state leaders including Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ratnasiri Wickremanayaka, Australian Deputy Prime Minister and Trade Minister Mark Vaile, former Philippine President Fidel V. Ramos, former Australian Prime Minister Bob Hawke, former Kazakh Prime Minister Sergy Terechenko and former Malaysian Deputy Prime Minister Tansri Dato' Musa bin Hitam. Chief Executive of Hong Kong Special Administration Region Donald Tsang and Chief Executive of Macao Special Administration Region Edmund Ho Hau Wah will also be in attendance.

A number of global business leaders have also confirmed they will attend the conference. These include CEO of A.P. Moller-Maersk Jess Søderberg, Chairman of Merrill Lynch International Inc. Kevan Watts, and Managing Director and CEO of Woodside Enenrgy Ltd Don Voelte.

Also on the 'confirmed' list to attend are world-renowned financial experts including the chief economist of Morgan Stanley, Stephen Roach and the governor of the Bank of Israel and former chief economist of both the World Bank and Citigroup, Stanley Fischer.

At yesterday's press conference, Long signed agreements with the event's major sponsors including A.P. Moller-Maersk, Microsoft, Merrill Lynch, Woodside Energy, Dongfeng Nissan Passenger Vehicle Company and Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu.

"The corporate support of our sponsors is of the highest quality," said Long. "We appreciate such support because as well being financially important it's also important in terms of branding. The strength of the 'Boao Forum for Asia' brand is greatly assisted by the recognition value of our sponsors and the high quality of those participating in the event," he added.

Tom Behrens-Sorensen, chief executive of A.P. Moller-Maersk Group Greater China Area, said at the press conference: "What makes the Boao Forum unique is that it brings together senior business representatives from throughout Asia and other parts of the world. 

"The Forum allows for collaboration and helpful dialogue on a range of issues and A.P. Moller-Maersk is proud to play a part in this," he added.

"The Boao Forum provides an ideal platform for building-up levels of cooperation between countries and can greatly assist the further growth of the Asian economy," said Timothy Chen, corporate vice president and CEO of the Greater China Region, Microsoft Corp.

"It is our wish, through attending the forum, to become more involved in assisting with the promotion of Asia's economic progress and being recognized as being a capable and trusted partner throughout Asia," he said.

BFA also announced yesterday that the World Pharmaceutical Conference will be held on April 26-27 at Taizhou City, eastern Jiangsu Province.

(China.org.cn by staff reporter Yuan Fang, February 23, 2006)

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