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Leaders jet into Hong Kong to save global trade

TOP SCIENTISTS AND business leaders jetted into Hong Kong yesterday for a geopolitical conference to save global trade.

The aim: to plot a path out of the current impasse, in which US insecurity about China’s peaceful rise is causing a splintering of international relationships to a level unseen since the Second World War.


It’s political machinations, not trade, which is the root of the problem, said Hong Kong leader John Lee Ka-chiu at the opening dinner of the Global Prosperity Summit last night.

“Countries are increasingly re-evaluating their trading partners based on considerations beyond the economic,” he said. “That is a growing threat to the world economy.”

A preferable route would be choose the Chinese way, which is co-operation. China prioritizes people-centred, innovation-driven, inclusive and sustainable growth, he added. “Co-operation, rather than de-globalisation, is the only way realistic forward for the global economy – and global progress in general.”


But some speakers were upbeat. The world can look to an eventual re-building of links, said popular Shanghai-based business commentator Eric Li, speaking this morning. He pointed to a three stage process: globalization, deglobalization, and reglobalization.

Extraordinary changes are already happening, he added. Technological development will be transformational. The world should focus on new economies, such as the fast-growing environment-related sectors, Li said.


Most people in non-political sectors believed in the importance of working across borders, speakers emphasized. “Every speaker and participant of the Summit shares a common belief in the importance of working together across borders to contribute to the future of global development,” said chief organizer Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee (pictured) in a statement before the summit opened.

Regina Ip speaking at the conference today. Image: Regina Ip

At the conference today, she said people needed to move away from playing a “zero-sum game” and recognize that technological cooperation was a better way forward.

The keynote speaker was Professor Roger D. Kornberg, Nobel laureate in Chemistry. Also due to speak are top academics from the US, UK, mainland China, and elsewhere. The conference is taking place at the Fullerton Hotel in Hong Kong’s Ocean Park. The organizers of the conference, which runs for three days, are the Hong Kong-based Savantas Policy Institute and the Shanghai Institute for International Studies.

Images at the top from HK Government and Fullerton Hotel.

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