Home > Previous Events > The 12th CSABF > Speech by Suraj Vaidya President of SAARC CCI on the Opening Ceremony of the 12th China-South Asia Business Forum

Speech by Suraj Vaidya President of SAARC CCI on the Opening Ceremony of the 12th China-South Asia Business Forum

Honorable Ministers,
Leaders of Chinese Business Communities,
Business Leaders from South Asia and Southeast Asia,
The organizing Committee of the South& Southeast Asia Commodity Expo and Investment Fair,
Distinguished Guests,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
      Good morning!
      It is my great pleasure and honor to join you at the inaugural ceremony of the Trade and Investment Fair, which gives me a great opportunity to meet many friends, old and new, from the business community.
      Over the years, many of you have made consistent efforts and great contributions to the promotion of mutually beneficial cooperation between China and South Asia, and the mutual understanding and friendship between the two peoples.I wish to take this opportunity to express my deep appreciation to each and everyone of you present here.
       Ladies and Gentlemen,
      China Intemational Fair for Investment and Trade has grown and I hope it will become an important window for China’s outward investment promotion. This Trade Fair serves as an important platform that brings together producers of technologies, goods and services from China and other parts ofthe region. It also brings public and private leaders, business community and traders to exchange views on economic and investment trends and opportunities.
      I would like to commend the Government of the People’s Republic of China for once again sponsoring and hosting this very important event, hat in a big way goes towards strengthening South-South cooperation and creates opportunities for mutual beneficial trade and investment partnerships.
      SAARC is a region of opportunities, the region of commonalities, the region of civilizations and mystics. Let me portray an image of my SAARC which has a huge potential as the combined economy of this region is the5thlargest in the world in terms of GDP with a combined GDP of $2.6 trillion in20l6. The region comprises three percent of the world’s area and has2l percent of the world’s total population.
      With population of more thanl.8 billion people SAARC has become one of the most thriving and emerging markets of the world. All the eight countries have been maintaining steady economic growth in the last decade.  Being such a huge market the region according to an estimate the trade potential in South Asia are around$85 billion which is for is untapped.
      Ladies and Gentlemen!
      We are the region with untapped natural resources; we have more the350+ Giga Watt hydroelectric potential which can change the fate of the region. Our intense geographical proximity is an opportunity to be unleashed.
      According to the World Bank, one fifth of the population of South Asia is between the ages of l5 and20, and is the most youthful region; home to26% of the entire world’s youth. About52% of South Asia’s population is of working age.
      The SAARC region is one of the few bright spots for growth in a global economy that is adjusting itself to China’s slowdown. South Asia as a whole grew at annual rate of 6% matching the average growth rate for developing Asia in the same period
      South Asia is at a turning point. South Asian countries are starting to receive the competitiveness dividends from the economic reforms and public investments in infrastructure and education carried over the last 25 years.
      Rising labor costs in the neighboring regions are steering global investors towards South Asia as a possible alternative. At a time of declining global growth and trade, South Asia home to a quarter of humanity has the potential to boost global growth as both a major exporter and consumer market.
      Ladies and Gentlemen!
      South Asia’s potential is unquestionable: education lever are on the rise,more than one million young workers enter the labor market each month, and the population of the region’s and sprawling cities are expanding at the same pace. By 2030 more than a quarter of the world’s working adults will live in South Asia. This is the region’s greatest opportunity and greatest challenge.
      I believe,if we empower our young, give them knowledge, skills and opportunities to fully participate in the economy and contribute productively, the youth of South Asia will be translated into a demographic bonus that will change the developmental landscape of this region
      However, taking advantage of this demographic bonus requiresfull commitment from the governments and all sectors to invest in young people now, with a multi- sectorial approach, to improve the education, employment, health and general wellbeing of young people.
      Ladies and Gentlemen!
      China and South Asian private sector has already recognized the great potential and shared benefits that can be realized through true partnerships and win-win arrangements such as the China-South Asia Business Forum and trade related initiatives such as China-South Asia Fair for Investment and Trade.
      The Governments in South Asia are recognizing the private sector as an important partner in the realization of broad national economic development objectives. As such, the governments have put in place business friendly policies, legal and regulatory framework that create an enabling environment for private sector to conduct business.
      In addition, the governments has also and continues to invest in the development Of basic hard and soft infrastructures such as transport, communication, energy, and skills development which are crucial for private sector to invest and conduct business.
With the aim of networking and showcasing trade and investment opportunities and to explore areas for partnership with potential Chinese investors we have brought “The SAARC Investment Outlook”. A publication comprising of different projects,awaiting investors to be unleashed.
      Ladies and Gentlemen!
      I would like to encourage the private sector from China and South Asia to seize
this opportunity to engage in fruitful discussions at this forum to establish mutually beneficial relations that willboost existing trade and investment levels between the two countries for mutual benefits.
      In conclusion,I wish to say that to the discerning investors who are seeking for a stable and profitable investmentlocation, look to South Asia_ a region with unlimited, untapped investment opportunities.

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