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Boao Embraces Visitors to Forum on Asia's Economic Development
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Boao , a town of 20,000 people in China's southernmost island province Hainan, is ready to embrace visitors from across the globe to an annual forum on Asia's economic development, which is set to open on Friday.

Highlighting new opportunities for Asia's economic growth, Boao Forum for Asia (BFA) Annual Conference 2006 will draw some 850 celebrities from across the world during its three-day event.

Among the participants from the world's political, business and academic circles to the annual conference, the fifth since BFA was founded in 2001, about 40 are ministers, the secretariat said on Thursday.

This year's conference will focus on the Doha round of trade negotiations, trends of the international energy market and the competitiveness of Asian businesses.

The delegates will also discuss China's banking sector reforms, the real estate industry and transnational mergers and acquisitions.

More than 430 reporters from China and abroad have registered to cover the event, which has been playing a key role in providing Asia's decision makers with opportunities for in-depth discussions and understanding of the most critical issues of the region's economic growth, according to the secretariat.

In addition to the 2005 annual conference, Boao Forum for Asia has held a number of activities over the past year, including the Bohai Rim Forum on International Cooperation in Northeast Asia, the Education Forum for Asia 2005 Annual Conference, and the First Euro-Asia Forum.

The forum plans to convene the World Pharmaceutical Industry Conference at the end of April in Jiangsu Province in East China, along with some other forums and conferences in the year.

The secretariat also noted that the Boao Institute, affiliated to BFA, is geared up to further consolidate and adjust its functional activities so that it can truly become a credible and high standard intellectual arm, and even turn into an institute providing intellectual support services to Asia and the world in economic integration.

BFA was proposed by former Australian Prime Minister Robert James Lee Hawke, former President of the Philippines Fidel Ramos, and former Prime Minister of Japan Hosokawa Morihiro in 1998. It was formally established in 2001 and held its first conference in 2002.

(Xinhua News Agency April 21, 2006)

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