The Summit, titled “New Global Economic Realities: Asia-Pacific Perspectives”, addressed the transformation of the global economy, global solutions in an increasingly interdependent world, and how the financial and economic crisis has created new trade opportunities. It also gave particular emphasis to Asia-Pacific, the driver of the global economy and the region that proved most resilient during the economic downturn.
The Summit involved more than 400 participants, most of whom are senior management, business leaders and opinion leaders from around the region and the world. They included Martin Wolf, Associate Editor and Chief Economics Commentator for the Financial Times, and David Sokol, Chairman, President and CEO of NetJets and Chairman of MidAmerican Energy Holdings Company. Donald Tsang, Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, delivered the morning’s keynote address. Chen Yuan, Chairman of the Board of Directors, China Development Bank, was the keynote speaker for the Summit luncheon.
Green issues and sectors were key focus areas during the Summit. “Sustainability is something that is already impacting daily business decision-making, and we can expect this trend to grow in the future,” Mr Fung said. “One aspect where there seemed to be consensus at the Summit is that we can expect consumers to continue placing more and more value on green technology, which of course means that companies will have to act accordingly.”
Participants also urged national governments to resist protectionism in response to adverse economic conditions, adding that such measures would only serve to exacerbate unemployment and hinder growth of the global economy and developing nations. Members called for the successful conclusion of the Doha Round and the promotion of multilateral trade.
During his presentation, Gary Hufbauer, Senior Fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics, alerted attendees that pressure is increasing on governments to institute protectionist measures on trade policies. “If only half the protectionist measures ‘in the pipeline’ in end-2009 were implemented in 2010 and 2011, the world economy could face a serious protectionist problem,” he said.
The Summit, which was held at the Hong Kong Convention & Exhibition Centre,featured an opening speech on the global economic outlook by Martin Wolf, followed by Donald Tsang’s keynote address. Moderating the subsequent breakout sessions were Mr Hufbauer; Jean-Pierre Lehmann, Professor of International Political Economy at IMD in Lausanne, Switzerland, and Founding Director of the Evian Group; Kenneth Courtis, Founding Chairman of Themes Investment Partners; Joseph Bower, Baker Foundation Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School; and Martin Wassell, First Director, ICC.
Mr Bower commented that the private sector has the ability to address issues such as global unemployment and migration by introducing “entrepreneurial solutions” that provide opportunities for unskilled labour. “We must avoid failed states,” Mr Bower said, adding that the right business strategies can “bring the unskilled and unserved into the market system”.
The event also featured presentations from Leonardo Ferragamo, CEO, Palazzo Feroni Finanziaria and Honorary Chairman of the Altagamma Foundation, as well as Rajat Gupta, incoming Chairman of the International Chamber of Commerce and Senior Partner Emeritus of McKinsey & Company. The final panel discussion included Messrs. Wolf, Sokol, Ferragamo, Gupta and Fung, who also delivered the concluding remarks.
ICC, which has members in over 120 countries and is considered the leading voice for global commerce, reiterated that it will continue to support multilateral trade and the interests of business worldwide.
Speaker from left to right:
Rajat K Gupta, Vice Chairman, International Chamber of Commerce; Senior Partner Emeritus, Mckinsey & Company
Jean-Pierre Lehmann ,Professor of International Political Economy, IMD; Founding Director, Evian Group
Martin Wassell, First Director, International Chamber of Commerce
Kenneth S Courtis, Founding Partner, Themes Investment Partners
Joseph L Bower, Baker Foundation Professor of Business Administration, Harvard Business School
Chen Yuan, Chairman of the Board of Directors, China Development Bank
Dr Victor Fung, Chairman, International Chamber of Commerce and Chairman, the Li & Fung Grou
Fred Lam, Executive Director, Hong Kong Trade Development Council
Martin Wolf, Associate Editor and Chief Economics Commentator,Financial Times
Gary C Hufbauer, Senior Fellow, Peterson Institute for International Economics Development
Leonardo Ferragamo, CEO, Palazzo Feroni Finanziaria; Honorary Chairman, Altagamma Foundation
David Sokol, Chairman, President and CEO, NetJets, Inc.; Chairman, MidAmerican Energy Holdings Company