In Australia this week the SPEEDO swim suit company has just moved "off shore" to China as it can make larger profits from the cheaper labour. Globalisation continues to boost Corporation's exploitation of the wortd's workers.
Delegates from 25 Asian countries endorsed a declaration in Boao, China, last week establishing the Boao Forum for Asia — a regional version of the World Economic Forum held annually in Switzerland. The Boao Forum is expected to become Asia's first non-governmental, non- profit organisation whose main purpose will be to increase dialogue, coordination and cooperation among Asian countries. It will be headed by Malaysian diplomat Ajit Singh, the first Secretary General of the Association for Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), and is intended to provide a venue for entrepreneurs and academics from industrial, commercial and academic circles to exchange views and gain mutual understanding of the development of Asia.
The Forum, which was first proposed by former Philippine President Fidel V. Ramos and other Asian leaders in September 1998, is seen as a means of reaping the maximum benefit for Asian countries and avoiding their marginalisation out of the process of globalisation. Its strategies include convening conferences and workshops on a regular basis to discuss important issues related to regional economic development, population, the environment, trade and investment in the context of globalisation as well as to develop and promote closer inter- relationships between the Forum, business communities and governments. The Forum will be the first international organisation to be permanently based in China.
In his opening speech, Chinese President Jiang Zemin called on Asian countries to work towards the common development of all Asian nations and towards enhanced exchanges between Asia and the rest of the world. "We Asian countries, though with different national conditions, are faced with the common task of seizing the opportunity, standing up to the challenges and working for a steady economic and social development," Jiang said, calling the founding of the Forum a "grand moment" for Asia. He added that the Forum will be a useful complement to inter-governmental cooperation organisations such as the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum and ASEAN.
Also speaking at the inauguration, Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad suggested that industrialised countries should pay an "infrastructure tax" to help poor countries develop their infrastructure, arguing that "part of the wealth of the rich comes from the exploitation of the resources of the poor". The tax revenue could be administered by the United Nations, he proposed. "There can be no doubt that this tax on the rich countries will help spread the wealth to the poor," he said while acknowledging that the developed world may have a problem with this.
WEF NYC | Actions 2001 | www.agp.org