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____ Wednesday September 9, 2015 ____

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Global Markets

Asia’s Future Success Depends on Business Leadership and Multilateral Cooperation

Business plays an important leadership role in fostering cooperation in Asia; Role for trade and industry federations to resolve cross-border tensions

Dalian, People’s Republic of China – Panellists agreed that geopolitical tensions have always existed and can present obstacles to business in the region. Speaking on a panel at the Annual Meeting of the New Champions, Anthony F. Fernandes, Group Chief Executive Officer, AirAsia, Malaysia, said that business plays an important leadership role in fostering cooperation in Asia, but businesspeople sometimes contribute to these tensions because of their calls for protectionism. He said he believes that the growing threat of nationalism can derail a lot of good work that has been done to foster economic integration within the region.

According to John Riady, Executive Director, Lippo Group, Indonesia, increasingly, the borders created by the traditional system of nation states are becoming less of a barrier as advances in digital technology enable companies to disrupt borders to provide goods and services in other countries. As such, the sovereignty of the nation state has to deal with the reality of blurring borders, and a new institutional infrastructure may be needed to address the new challenges.

Victor L. L. Chu, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, First Eastern Investment Group, Hong Kong SAR, is an advocate of multilateral institutions like the World Trade Organization rather than regional and bilateral arrangements, as the former provides a mechanism for participation of all countries and does not leave out small and weak countries not invited to join bilateral arrangements.

Kil Jeong-Woo, Member of Parliament, Republic of Korea, said that while the individual company’s role in helping to resolve cross-border tensions is limited, trade and industry federations can assert a bigger influence, as seen in Japan and South Korea.

Yorihiko Kojima, Chairman of the Board, Mitsubishi Corporation, Japan, said that despite tensions between China and Japan, thousands of Chinese tourists have continued to visit Japan in recent years. But he agreed that communication is the key to resolving many geopolitical tensions.

The World Economic Forum’s Annual Meeting of the New Champions opened today in Dalian, People’s Republic of China, and runs from 9 to 11 September. The meeting is a leading global gathering on innovation, entrepreneurship, science and technology. It is held in close collaboration with the Government of the People’s Republic of China, with the support of the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC). The meeting is convening more than 1,700 participants from 90 countries under the theme, Charting a New Course for Growth.

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