Despite their slowing pace, China and Asia are expected to remain the global economic growth engine for a likely challenging 2016, with more growth momentum brought by the Belt and Road Initiative and the newly launched $100 billion Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB).
That is the optimistic outlook shared by both Hong Kong Trade Development Council Chairman Vincent Lo and Liu Zhenmin, China’s vice-foreign minister.
Amid the current geopolitical unrest, volatile financial markets, declining commodity prices and slowing growth in the Chinese mainland and Asia, it remains a challenge for the world to post a sustainable economic recovery, Lo told the Asian Financial Forum (AFF) in Hong Kong.
However, China and Asia still prove to be the more fast-growing and dynamic region compared with the West and can be well expected to continue to fuel global growth, Lo added.
In backing up Lo’s view, Liu noted that the region today contributes to more than half of the world’s gross domestic product, with China alone accounting for nearly 30 percent.
In his opening address at the AFF, Hong Kong Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying said growth highlights in the region come from the bold moves spearheaded by China, such as the high-profile Belt and Road Initiative — which covers a third of the global GDP and 4.4 billion of the world population — and the much-anticipated AIIB which started operation over the weekend, marking a milestone in the reform of the global economic governance system.
The two initiatives will inject new energy into regional collaboration and provide an impetus for global economic recovery, added Liu.
Leung meanwhile reiterated his confidence in the key role played by Hong Kong in the region. The global financial hub, he pointed out, is part of these wide-ranging strategies and would play a critical role in helping realize the opportunities arising from development in the region.
Billed as one of the leading annual events in the global financial calendar, the AFF this year has drawn more than 90 heavyweight regulators, policymakers and market players from around the world to offer their insights into global financial issues.
The two-day event opened on Monday with the theme of “Asia: Shaping the New Paradigm for Growth”.