15th China-South Asia Business Forum 2022

The China-South Asia Business Forum is the first-ever mechanism established for regional economic cooperation between the Chinese and South Asian Industrial and Commercial circles representing the common will for strengthening cooperation and reaping mutual benefits within the region. It is intended to provide an important platform for better communication and collaboration among the private sectors of China and the South Asian Region. The 15th China-South Asia Business Forum was held during November 19-21 in Kunming, China, under the theme of “Building and optimizing the industrial chain and supply chain in the pandemic context”.

Mr. Iftikhar Ali Malik, President SCCI, in his address during the opening ceremony extended his warm wishes to the Leader of China Council for the Promotion of International Trade, the Leader of Yunnan Provincial People’s government and dignitaries from various embassies and government officials who graced the event with their presence. “The volume of trade between China and South Asia in general is growing. China has become the major trade partner for South Asian countries. Relative to the optimum economic potential of China and South Asia, the trade volume between them is low having a trade structural imbalance. Therefore, together we have to focus on the growing SINO-SAARC trade imbalances,” said President SCCI during his speech.

Mr. Zhang Shenfeng, Vice President of the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade, stated that the Council and China Chamber of International Commerce would continue to work collectively with the business communities at national and international levels, as well as Yunnan Province, to explore the untapped potential for trade and investment, optimize the regional business environment, and fully utilize the forum’s role in enabling economic and trade cooperation between China and other parts of the world.

“Afghanistan is at the junction of Central, South and West Asia connecting the global trade with China through the routes of transportation across these regions. Hence, there is a lot of room for growth,” said Mr. Shafiqullah Atayee, CEO, Afghanistan Chamber of Commerce and Industries. He wished that China would continue to strengthen commercial and trade cooperation with Afghanistan and invest in urban infrastructure and airport construction to boost local economy, transportation, trade, and peoples’ mobility.

Dr. Rajeev Singh, Director General Indian Chamber of Commerce, while addressing the gathering, said that the bilateral trade volume would be increased by about 75% with a growth rate of 12% per year. India-China relations have been long established, and the cooperation between the two nations in trade and commerce is deepening.

Mr. Irfan Iqbal Sheikh, President of the Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI), mentioned that China is Pakistan’s major trade partner, and thanks to the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, significant improvements have been made in its national industry and energy infrastructure, as well as road accessibility. “We hope that China will invest more in Pakistan’s industrial and technology sectors, particularly in economic development zones,” he further stated.

During his speech, Mr. Keerthi Gunawardane, President of the Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry of Sri Lanka (FCCISL), stated, “The ‘Belt and Road’ initiative has enhanced cooperation in trade and supply chain between Sri Lanka and China.” He further added, “With favorable geographical conditions, Sri Lanka will develop into an international cargo storage and distribution centre, as well as an Indian Ocean’s logistic hub. The government is currently focusing its efforts on developing ports and port cities, hoping that Chinese investors will focus on further investments in relevant economic areas.

In her address, Ms. Shaira Saleem, Vice Chairperson (Maldives) SCWEC, said, “Despite the extremely challenging and trying circumstances we faced in 2020 and 2021, the Maldives is also among the quickest to rebound from the crisis. As a nation, we have entered a new era of growth, and the corporate sector is becoming increasingly involved in our development efforts”. She also acknowledged China’s accomplishments in the Maldives as part of the Belt and Road Initiative.

The mayors of representative cities in Yunnan, China also addressed the forum.