Concerted efforts, global partnerships crucial to tackle COVID-19 challenges
The Asian economy will be able to achieve positive growth this year if the ongoing efforts to rein in the COVID-19 pandemic bear fruit in the second half and China's economic recovery gathers momentum, a new report said on Friday.
The Asian Economic Outlook and Integration Progress Annual Report 2020 released by the Boao Forum for Asia projected that despite a possible sharp decline this year, economic growth in Asia will likely see a sharp rebound in 2021.
"If the pandemic is mitigated in the second half of the year, Asia's growth rate might still be positive. But if it recurs or the stimulus policies turn out to be ineffective, there is still a possibility for Asia's growth rate to fall below zero," the report said.
Although Asia's economic growth in 2019 fell to its lowest in recent years, its share in the world total still rose to 49.5 percent. The share is projected to further increase this year to more than half of the world total, representing about 50.2 percent, according to the report.
Li Baodong, secretary-general of the Boao Forum for Asia and former vice-foreign minister, said the world is now facing the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression and concerted efforts and global partnerships are more critical than ever to address the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Asia, which has been an engine of global economic growth, is also facing unprecedented challenges due to disruptions in the flow of trade, investment, and global supply and demand. Strengthening regional cooperation is essential for Asia to lead the global economic recovery, he said.
Zhou Xiaochuan, vice-chairman of the Boao Forum for Asia and former governor of the People's Bank of China, said Asia has made important contributions to the global fight against the pandemic and the restoration of growth and it will continue to play the role as a global growth engine during and after the pandemic.
"As an important part of the global trade, production and investment, Asia has experienced major repercussions amid the pandemic. However, Asian economies have stronger resilience with huge markets and rapidly growing middle-income population, improved balance of payments and fiscal conditions, continuous human capital investment and a booming digital economy," Zhou said.
The former PBOC governor said that China has made arduous efforts and huge sacrifices in the fight against the pandemic and has been actively participating in the international cooperation in the global battle against the virus.
The measures taken by China have focused on safeguarding jobs, people's livelihoods, food and energy security and the stability of the industrial and supply chain. The recent reforms in market-based allocation of production resources have sent out an important signal that China is firmly committed to market-oriented reform and is extending the level of the opening-up, Zhou said.
China's actions have helped mitigate the impact of the pandemic, stimulate the potential and vitality of the economy, and helped promote regional and global economic recovery, he said.