(Yicai Global) Jan. 11 -- The Boao Forum for Asia, the continent's Davos, will take as its theme this year 'Globalization & Free Trade: The Asian Perspectives,' a defense of free trade and globalization.
The ninth annual gathering of world political and economic leaders will be held in the southern Chinese resort city of Boao on Hainan Island between March 23 and 26, BFA Secretary-General Zhou Wenzhong said at a news conference on Jan. 9.
"As main beneficiaries of globalization, Asia and the emerging economies have become the champions of the cause," Zhou said. The four-day forum's aim now is to advocate a more inclusive globalization, he added.
This year conference will give China's leaders the opportunity to tout Beijing's 'One Belt, One Road' initiative as a form of inclusive globalization. Unveiled in late 2013 and often compared with the ancient Silk Road web of trade routes, the initiative is aimed at creating new economic links between Asia, Europe and Africa.
'One Belt' refers to a link stretching from China to Europe through Central Asia, while 'One Road' alludes to a link from China to port facilities on the African coastline and through the Suez Canal into the Mediterranean Sea.
It is a grand 30- to 40-year plan for a vast infrastructure and trade route boasting a major network of railroads, highways, ports and pipelines embracing the continents. New business links and trade ties are being forged as development funds begin to flow from China's USD40 billion Silk Road Fund and the China-backed USD100 billion Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank.
The opening ceremony of the Boao Forum will be held on March 25.