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2014 CommonWealth Economic Forum

The Power of Change in Asia


The Power of Change in Asia


International luminaries from industry, academia and government gathered in Taipei to share their wisdom on the triple themes of "Taiwan's Way Ahead," Regional Economics and Trade" and "Me and My Dreams."



The Power of Change in Asia

By the CommonWealth Magazine Editorial
From CommonWealth Magazine (vol. 541 )

Having now celebrated its fifth year, the CommonWealth Economic Forum (CWEF) has been enriched with the wisdom of 150 scholars, experts, and officials from 15 nations around the world featured as speakers on the subject of Asia's future.

This year, in addition to President Ma Ying-jeou, who delivered the forum's opening remarks, prominent scholars, business leaders and core government advisors from the UK, US, Japan, Korea, Thailand, China and Taiwan attended the CWEF. We hope their analyses of the changing Asian and global landscape can open a window of knowledge and ideas for Taiwan onto the world.

In her remarks, CommonWealth Magazine Group founder, publisher, and editor-in-chief Diane Ying addressed the momentous changes that have taken place across the political and economic landscape in the past five years. "The impact of globalization extends beyond the flow of people, currency, goods, and information around the planet. Such natural phenomena as extreme weather, earthquakes, and tsunamis, along with atmospheric pollution similarly transcend national borders and grab headlines. Smog from Beijing reaches the skies over Taipei in a matter of days, underscoring the truth that we really only have just one Earth."

Her words served as a reminder that we all face a complex, interdependent, and rapidly changing global order, and that problems that people create need people working together to solve them.

When tackling these issues, she said, "The starting point of all change is the choices people make. Making a choice and taking responsibility for the consequences brings positive momentum with it, giving happiness and hope to oneself and others."

The two-day economic forum took on the four major topics of the global economy, the outlook for Asia, changing trends, and business management. The insight and recommendations made during the forum can be summarized by three main threads, namely, "Taiwan's Way Ahead," "Regional Economics and Trade" and "Me and My Dreams."

Particularly in regards to Taiwan's breaking through and finding her way ahead, suggestions poured forth from government officials, businessmen and academics alike, urging Taiwan to accelerate the pace of economic liberalization, to bolster industry competitiveness by boosting innovation in research and development, and to establish a roadmap for joining the TPP (Trans Pacific Partnership) and RCEP (Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership). Taiwan Semiconductor chairman Morris Chang's keynote address on talent resonated especially strongly with attendees.

As for regional economics and trade, Jung-Taik Hyun, Vice Chairman of Korea's National Economic Advisory Council, reminded listeners that, despite all appearances that Korea has entered full-speed into free trade agreements, in fact, ever since the 1980s, the Korean government has set three-year and five-year strategies for assisting and guiding the country's industry to minimize division among various political and interest groups. And only after 11 years of fine tuning these plans did Korea go ahead and sign free trade agreements with other major trading nations.

Advice from both Korea and the ASEAN nations makes it clear that opening up is not the only important tactic for economics and trade, as a country must first put its house in order to ensure its own well being. Lastly, entrepreneurs and artists alike touched the audience with the personal stories and dreams they shared. If a final consensus was reached during the forum, it would be that the best hope for Taiwan is for every individual to contribute their energy through choices, responsibility and change, declaring through their actions, "Here I am!"

Translated from the Chinese by David Toman