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Boao Forum to focus on safeguarding free trade

The annual Boao Forum for Asia will focus on safeguarding globalization and free trade this year as the world faces mounting economic pressure and more unstable factors and uncertainties, Li Baodong, forum secretary-general said on Wednesday in Beijing.

Li announced that the 2019 forum is scheduled for March 26 to 29 in Boao, Hainan province. The opening plenum will take place on March 28.

At a Beijing news conference on the forum, Li said the global economy saw "moderate growth, but with slower momentum" in 2018 as protectionism and unilateralism are posing real and serious challenges to the world economy. He stressed that multilateralism and cooperation must be respected to cope with the backlash against globalization that threatens the global economy.

"It is in this global context that the BFA has selected 'Shared Future, Concerted Action, Common Development' as the theme of its 2019 annual conference. A shared future calls for concerted action, whereas concerted action leads to common development," Li said, adding that the conference will provide an open, inclusive dialogue platform for stakeholders and send a clear message to build consensus regarding rising global challenges.

In addition, Li said that the annual conferences of the BFA, which is hosted in China, have been graced by its State leaders every year.