The Asia-Europe Economic Forum 2013 was held in Beijing on the 28-29 of October, with the theme of “Challenges and Prospects for the Asian and European Economies”.
The forum was sponsored by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS) and organized by the Institute of World Economics and Politics of CASS jointly with internationally-renowned institutions such as the Asia-Europe Foundation and the Kiel Institute for World Economics.
Li Yang, the Vice-President of CASS, attended and addressed the opening ceremony.
While talking about the world economic situation from 2007 to date, Li Yang claimed that the global financial crisis is far from over, and has in fact entered a new stage. In this new stage, the decline of the world economy has been effectively curbed and countries around the world have successively begun to undertake reforms in accordance with the underlying causes of the crisis, but they are confronted with greater difficulties than ever before in carrying out these reforms.
China surely cannot detach itself from this changing world. Li noted that the current Chinese economy has also entered a new period, characterized most strikingly by the decline of economic growth from 9.8% on average over the past 33 years to around 7.5% currently. This fall of 2.3% will undoubtedly weigh heavily on China’s economy, so how to ensure a smooth transition for the Chinese economy is a topic worthy of in-depth discussion.
Although there are some obstacles ahead, Li added, the Chinese economy still has much to look forward to. In order to better expose the world to the particularity and complexity of China’s economy, Chinese scholars should take up the responsibility to explain them to the outside world.
The European debt crisis has triggered alarm in Europe and the world. The participants in the Forum therefore actively reflected on how to fend off financial risks and further improve the European economic situation.
Lorenzo Codogno, the Director of the Financial Department of the Ministry of Economy and Finance of Italy, claimed that “we have to enhance financial regulation to fix the holes between sovereign countries and banks”.
In the meantime, the clamor for the enhancement of inter-state coordination is growing ever louder within the European Union. Both the measures to prevent crises and the formulation of relevant policies call for closer coordination between the countries concerned, said the French economist Jean Pisani-Ferry during the forum.
Since 2009, although the world has seen increasingly active coordination between countries, its quality and effect are dwindling. “Many countries tend to take care of themselves alone, so their decision-makers hesitate when negotiating with other countries, something which has wasted a lot of time and energy”, Pisani-Ferry said.
In order to bolster their economy, all countries are trying to work on “financial expenditures”. “Developed countries should put more of their money into infrastructures to stimulate production, while countries with high levels of savings should attach more importance to supporting consumption,” said Zou Jiayi, the Director of the International Department of the Chinese Ministry of Finance.
Besides the sovereign debt crisis of the developed economies and the euro zone, the participants also conducted heated discussions over topics including monetary and exchange rate policies, the new agenda of the WTO and regional trade negotiation, and China’s economic prospects.
Translated by Chen Mirong