2 November 2003, China
Your Excellency Premier, Wen Jiabao, Your Excellency Chairman Fidel Ramos, Your Excellency Secretary General Long Yong tu, Distinguished Participants, Ladies, and gentlemen,
I consider it a special privilege to be able to speak at this Annual Conference of the Boao Forum for Asia. I also thank the organizers of the Forum and the people and government of the beautiful Hainan province for the warm reception and gracious hospitality extended to my delegation. Let me first of all extend our warmest felicitations to the government and people of China for the successful manned space flight. This is as much a testimony to the remarkable technological strides that China has made as it is to the creative genius of the great Chinese people. The Boao platform for Asia brings together leaders of public and corporate sectors to develop common economic perspectives. It is fitting that the Forum is based in China.
Momentous transformation of China’s economy is an inspiration for all developing countries and an assurance for a better future for Asia. The theme “Asia Searching for Win — Win Development through Cooperation is a self-evident imperative. The challenge lies in devising strategies for cooperation that ensure optimum synergy for, accelerating socio-economic development.
This important Forum must help promote a common economic vision for Asia and chart a path for comprehensive and integrated development of our continent. Our cultural affinities, geographical proximity and economic complementarities provide a strong underpinning for enhanced cooperation.
Excellencies, ladies, and gentlemen,
Global economic situation is marked by uncertainty. We have witnessed an almost simultaneous
stalling of growth in some of the biggest economies of the world. In this otherwise murky economic
scenario, China’s phenomenal economic growth provides the bright picture. It remains a source of
sustenance for the global economy as a whole. We particularly admire China’s responsible role in
rescuing South East Asia from the throes of the 1997 financial crises.
Problems facing the global economy are immense and complex. These range from the dread of
‘deflation’ to the imperatives of ‘structural adjustments’; deficits and current account imbalances;
volatility of capital markets; unemployment; integration and fragmentation brought about by
globalization; dichotomy between equity and rule based trade liberalization and impulses at
protectionism through other means.
Globalization is a reality today, driven as much by technology as it is by liberal economics. It has
brought about a high degree of connectivity between all regions and peoples. Its political, cultural and
economic variants are shaping the international society.
It is important that we devise ways and means to manage globalization, to maximize dividends and
minimize its hazards, especially for the poor and the already marginalized segments of the
A majority of the developing countries remain mired in poverty and are being asphyxiated by the debt
trap. Absence of exportable surplus, dwindling productivity, unfavourable terms of trade for primary
commodities are among the factors that prevent the underdeveloped countries from benefiting from
export led growth strategies. This contributes to their marginalization.
Macro-economic scenario cannot be divorced from political realities in different parts of the world. Of
utmost concern is the globalization of terror, unresolved crises in Iraq, Afghanistan and the Korean
Peninsula as well as the longstanding questions of occupation of Palestine and Kashmir. Demonization
of Islam and a widening of the perceptional gap between Muslim countries and the West, have also
contributed to regressive economic trends.
Global economic scenario is also characterized by trends towards regional and sub-regional
integration. Most notably in Europe and in the Asia- Pacific region, positive steps have been taken
towards fixing of neighborhoods and building mutually beneficial cooperative arrangements.
The Boao Forum can play a catalytic role in fashioning an effective Asian response to global economic
issues. This requires a thorough analysis, conceptual clarity and building of a new global consensus.
A new development paradigm, based on the principles of universal participation and accountability is
needed for a sustainable international economic system. In this context the following deserve
One: politics and economics cannot be divorced. Hence the need for resolution of conflicts and
Two: broadening the base of international economic and financial decision making through
effective participation of the developing countries.
Three: review of the rules governing international trade so as to protect the legitimate
interests of the developing countries.
Four: Sharper focus on poverty eradication and debt relief.
Regional and sub-regional economic cooperation in Asia is increasing at a brisk pace. Besides the
ASEAN success story, several interesting initiatives have been launched. The concept of Asian Bond,
gold in international trades inter and intra regional free trade arrangements, move towards an ASEAN
Economic Community as well as the new dynamics, being imparted to Shanghai Cooperation
Organization and establishment of the Asian Consultative Dialogues are among the projects that could
change the economic and political landscape of Asia.
To realize Asia’s full economic potential, we must impart growth and development dynamics to the
vast regions of Central, West and South Asia. These huge resource rich zones and large markets have
not yet fully been integrated into a holistic Asian development paradigm. Integrating resources and
markets by injecting entrepreneurial skills and talents and requisite technological upgrades would
create synergies that will make Asia peaceful and prosperous.
Economic complementarities between the sub-regions of Asia must be identified, developed and
realized in the shortest time frame. Without under-estimating the challenge, I believe that the goal of
a truly win-win situation for Asia is well within the reach of our creative and talented people.
Economic Vision for Asia must become the watchword and objective of our endeavours. I urge the
Boao Forum to take the lead in forging an Asian consensus on development through cooperation. A
message of hope and revival to the poor and dispossessed on our continent must go forth from this
The following elements for building an Asian consensus on win-win for development merit attention:
One: Comprehensive and integrated development. This is a truism. Pockets of affluence
cannot indefinitely prosper or remain unaffected by turbulence in neighbouring zones.
Two: Building complementarily is the key to realizing the full potential for growth and
development. Asia has the resources, markets, technological and entrepreneurial talent. A nexus of
these essential elements for growth will create an irreversible momentum.
Three: Reinforcing Asian values would make the growth trajectory comfortable and in
harmony with the rich culture of our people.
Four: Abatement of tensions and peaceful resolution of political disputes is indispensable for
realizing Asia-wide growth and development.
Five: Technology sharing and application, arrangements together with production, marketing
and managerial skills require effective Asia-wide networking and establishment of joint ventures. It is
necessary to lift the whole region and especially enable the less developed zones to enter and
integrate with the developed mainstream.
Six: Private sector collaboration is important. Creative talent of the private sector has to be
Seven: Harmonization of standards and environmental issues must also receive close
attention. Sustainable growth and development requires a strong focus on environment.
China is strategically placed, bordering all major regions of Asia. Strength of its economy has been a
factor of stability and support for Asian Pacific economies.
We are confident that China will play an equally important role for promoting development of the
Central and South Asia. The pace of development will largely depend on investment activity and
growth of trade through a web of co production arrangements. China and other Asia Pacific countries,
with the strength of their reserves and surplus capital, have the capacity to lead the process.
We in Pakistan are proud of our time-tested all weather friendship with China. We are determined to
add further economic and commercial content to our excellent relations. We look forward to building a
synergy between our economies and to benefit mutually from the tremendous efforts now underway in
development of Western China and the bordering regions in Pakistan.
The Karakoram Highway continues to serve as a bridge of friendship between our two countries and
an artery of commerce and communication. It is as much a symbol of our abiding friendship as it is of
our resolve to move forward together on the road to peace and prosperity.
Ladies and gentlemen,
Tensions in South Asia and the instability in Afghanistan have adversely impacted upon the two
regional organizations dedicated to economic, technological and cultural cooperation; namely, South
Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) and Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO).
The potential of the two organizations, however, is immense. Both have developed structures for
cooperation and have adopted promising proposals.
SAARC has already adopted a programme for preferential tariffs and has its sights set on the
establishment of a free trade arrangement in the future. We are looking forward to the next SAARC
Summit meeting to be held in Islamabad. We hope that the Summit will impart a fresh impetus to
enhancing commercial and economic cooperation in South Asia.
ECO has plans for promoting economic and commercial activity among the countries of Central Asia
and South West Asia. There are good prospects for developing access routes linking Central Asian
States to the Arabian Sea.
Pakistan, Afghanistan and Turkmenistan have agreed to the construction of a gas pipeline. We also
support an Iranian initiative for a gas pipeline to India through Pakistani territory.
Pakistan is well situated to becoming a commercial hub linking the important regions of South, Central
and West Asia. Development of the Gwadar Port with Chinese assistance and improvement of road
and rail infrastructure in western Pakistan will alter the economic landscape of the whole region.
Ladies and gentlemen,
Pakistan’s national priority is domestic reforms, economic stability and modernization. Our aim is to
build a strong, prosperous and democratic Pakistan which stands fully integrated with the rest of the
We have achieved macro-economic stability. The GDP growth rate is currently 5.1 % and is expected
to range around 7% in the next few years. Pakistan is attracting increasing foreign investment.
Presence of more than 600 foreign companies including well known multi-nationals testify to the
credentials of Pakistan as a safe and profitable destination for investment. The corporate profitability,
on average, ranges from 16 to 60 percent.
Pakistan offers a secure and favourable environment to investors in the fields of information
technology, agriculture, textiles, small and medium enterprises (SMEs), oil and gas, chemicals and
financial business. Pakistan is also an excellent base for supplying a wide range of goods and services
to the new markets of Central Asian Republics as well as Afghanistan.
Service, infrastructure and agriculture sectors are also open for foreign investment. In service and
agriculture sectors 100% foreign equity is allowed. There is complete freedom of choice regarding
location of activities and full repatriation of capital, profits and dividends. Generous fiscal and tax
concessions are also available.
We are determined to creating a propitious environment for promotion of growth and investment. I
invite you all to participate in our development efforts.
I wish to thank you, once again, for enabling me to share my thoughts with you. I wish to assure you
that Pakistan will remain closely associated with the work of your important Forum.