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China to contribute to global economic recovery
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17:04, April 02, 2009

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Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) have issued their annual reports for 2008 recently. The economy in the Asia-Pacific region is generally better than in any other region on earth in spite of challenges it now faces, and China is sure to contribute positively to global economic growth.

ADB, the region's development finance agency, on Tuesday, March 31 issued the Asian Development Outlook 2009, or the revised outlook for the region, just a few months after it predicted an average growth of more than five percent, and forecasted a trend of economic growth in China. Despite an economic slowdown in 2009 due to an impact of global financial crisis, ADB insists in its outlook report that China's economy would speed up in 2010 since the country with a solid economic foundation has resorted to a range of essential fiscal and monetary stimulus measures.

"China will emerge from the crisis in better shape than it was before if it can rise to the challenge of rebalancing its economy," said Jong-Wha Lee, the Manila-based ADB's acting Chief Economist.

Headquartered in Bangkok, Thailand, the ESCAP, the largest of the UN's Regional Commissions in terms of its membership, population served and area covered, released on March 26 the Economic and Social Survey for Asia and the Pacific 2009. Global financial crisis has resulted in a slump consumption shrinkage in developed countries and subsequently produced a negative impact on global economic growth as a whole, ESCAP explains in its report. Economic conditions in China, however, are still better than most countries in the Asia-Pacific region, and Chinese economy would serve as a motive force for the resumption of world economy.

At present, the Asia-Pacific region is confronted with a trio-crisis with a combination of turmoil or upheavals in the banking sector, high food and fuel prices, and drastic climate change, adds the report. People in dire need are most vulnerable to the crisis, and more than two thirds of the world's 1.2 billion poor people now live in the Asia-Pacific region, where sliding economic growth will make the matter ever worse. In 2009, more than 60 million people in Asia and the Pacific still live in poverty, and this figure could rise to 100 million in 2010.

In an effort to overcome malignant influence of the current financial crisis, ESCAP has called on countries in the region to promote trade and investment at the regional or sub-regional level. Trade among the region's developing economies, however, accounts for only 37 percent of their total exports today, compared with 51 percent for signatories of the North America Free Trade Agreement and 68 percent in the European Union (EU), according to the report.

Moreover, the report indicates that average real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of Asian developing economies would decline to 3.4 percent this year, the lowest-ever level since the outbreak of the Asian Financial Crisis over a decade ago. Consequently, developing economies in the Asia-Pacific region have to adjust their export-oriented strategy for economic development and promote domestic consumption, so as to ensure their sustained and healthy growth. Nevertheless, as compared with 1997/98 Asia financial crisis, developing economies in Asia have obviously raised their capacity to cope with the ongoing crisis. GDP growth rate for 2010 is projected hopefully to rebounce to six percent for Asian developing economies, according to the report.

Thanks to a relatively benign economic performance of China and India, the overall aggregate real GDP growth of the Asia-Pacific region is still better than elsewhere in the world, so that the region would truly become a bright spot for global economic growth in 2009.

By People's Daily Online and contributed by Ren Jianmin, PD resident reporter in Thailand

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