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Asian Countries Seek New Opportunities Through Cooperation
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The Boao Forum for Asia has confirmed "New opportunities for Asia" as the theme of this year's annual conference, pointing to a need to tackle practical issues, a leading commentator says.

Professor Yin Zhongyi, vice-president of The China Institute for Reform and Development (CIRD), said that there exist new challenges and obstacles during Asia's social and economic development.

Rising international energy prices and trade tensions with Europe and the United States have broken economic growth in some regions where traditional manufacturers are supporting their economies, Yin said.

"Countries such as China and India are facing similar problems: disproportionate and polarizing social wealth, uneven development between regions, resource shortages and deteriorating environments," he said.

"Therefore, Asian countries and regions are all concerned about what is a new opportunity and a way out for them?" Yin said.

The conference will feature 11 meetings with topics covering trends in the international energy market, multi-national mergers, competitiveness of Asian enterprises and innovation of Asian technologies.

A major challenge for Asian countries and regions was the need to improve their capability of creating core technologies and intellectual properties, Yin said.

The economic growth of Asian developing countries relied on heavy financial investment and high consumption of natural resources. A lack of their own technologies raised the costs of economic activities, creating an obstacle to sustainable development, he said.

Productivity was one of the most important factors in international competitiveness, professor Yin said, although there were few perceived differences between major Asian and Western firms, Asian firms' competitiveness lagged behind Asia's proportion of the world economy.

"It's time for Asian governments to think about support for partnerships or alliances between companies," he said. "Governments should encourage multi-national mergers to make Asian companies more competitive."

The fifth annual conference will commence from Friday at Boao, a town of 20,000 on China's Hainan island.

(Xinhua News Agency April 21, 2006)

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