Xiyu Yang, vice president of the Institute of Boao Forum for Asia, tells Vision why China and Dubai need as close a relationship when it comes to finance as they have in trade, and why Dubai is important for all of Asia’s sustainable development
Vision: What sets the Boao Forum for Asia apart from its peers as Asia’s premier government, business and academic conference?
Xiyu Yang: The goal of the Boao Forum for Asia is to enhance economic cooperation integration in Asia – East and West. For that to happen, the forum is designed to be results-oriented, particularly when it comes to business. The format of the forum builds on cooperation, to enhance mutual understanding between participants and generate consensus.
Here in Dubai, the Boao Forum for Asia’s Financial Cooperation Conference will try to bring people who are unfamiliar with each other together so that we will be able to lay a foundation for possible cooperation in the future between China and Dubai and the UAE.
China-UAE trade has grown very fast, even at double-digit rates, so we need a similarly close financial relationship
Why did you choose to hold the 2014 Financial Cooperation Conference, from 23-25 November, in Dubai?
The last Financial Cooperation Conference was held in Beijing and before that in India. This time, we chose Dubai and it is the first time the conference is being held in the emirate. From a geo-economic viewpoint, Dubai is at the centre of the three great continents: Europe, Africa and Asia. Having the conference here is very, very important for Asian financial cooperation and for Asian sustainable development.
Currently, compared to the levels of trade and investment between China and the UAE, financial cooperation lags behind. China-UAE trade has grown very fast, even at double-digit rates, so we need a similarly close financial relationship.
The international financial system has been dominated to date by other countries – for example, agreements between energy suppliers and energy consumers rely on a third party’s currency. We need direct financial cooperation so the financial sectors both in China and in the UAE can better serve our own trade and investment deals. This Boao Forum for Asia Financial Cooperation Conference will allow the financial sectors from both countries to get acquainted and to trigger wider and greater cooperation.
What does the timeliness of the Financial Cooperation Conference in Dubai indicate about the relationship between the UAE and China?
Just recently, the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) was launched, including more than 20 countries. The Boao Forum for Asia chose Dubai as the location for the Financial Cooperation Conference specifically to explore opportunities for cooperation related to AIIB projects. Both the Gulf region and East Asia command great financial assets. The Gulf region has large Islamic financial assets and China has large export-produced financial assets. On the other hand, both East and West Asia need further infrastructure development, particularly when it comes to infrastructure connectivity. With the development of connectivity, Dubai’s growth will be increased greatly.
There is a consensus to launch a China-UAE Cooperation Fund, which has yet to be set up, and I think we need more momentum to launch the fund.
What are you hoping to achieve during the course of the forthcoming event?
Both China and Dubai need to develop a better understanding of each other’s different cultures and legal systems, especially in financial sectors. The financial regulations, rules, norms and doctrines in China are quite different from Islamic ones. By increasing contact, dialogue and exchange, China and the UAE can bring synergy to the two different types of financial assets for the same projects, and for the same mutual benefits and goals.