Francisco Rojas, Rector of the UN-mandated University for Peace, reads a congratulatory message from UN Secretary General Ban Ki-mon at the Ninth International Roundtable of Multinational Corporations' Leaders in Beijing on December 7 (MA XIAOWEN)
The Ninth International Roundtable of Multinational Corporations' Leaders, held in Beijing on December 7 and 8, kicked off with a message from UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.
"The memorandum of understanding between the Chinese Government and the United Nations Development Program on joint development of the Belt and Road signed in September will help in smoothing international trade, enhancing finance cooperation, and encouraging people-to-people exchanges," Ban said.
Calling the initiative a platform for developing the economy and regional cooperation, he hailed multinational corporations' interest in it, saying it was timely and important.
The Belt and Road Initiative, proposed by China in 2013, seeks to forge closer ties between Asia, Africa and Europe through ancient trade routes. It consists of the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st-Century Maritime Silk Road.
The roundtable was held simultaneously with a forum on Belt and Road cooperation where over 200 multinational corporation (MNC) leaders, scholars, ambassadors, and government officials met to discuss the opportunities for MNCs in the initiative as well as challenges.
Simon P. Henry, Chief Finance Officer of Royal Dutch Shell, said MNCs need to team up with local partners. With the Belt and Road Initiative involving more than 70 countries, they could provide valuable experience as they have operating agencies around the world.
Qiao Baoping, Chairperson of China Guodian Corp., said blind price wars should be avoided for a successful business operation. He also urged energy companies to cooperate internationally on clean energy technologies and projects in view of climate change challenges.
His company, Qiao said, focuses on clean energy and renewable resources. "We have a 20-million-kilowatt wind power capacity," he said. "We also have projects in Canada, South Africa, and Europe."
Liu Qitao, Chair of China Communications Construction, said MNCs need to pay attention to the local environment and have an urgent sense of social responsibility.
Chen Jinya, President of Arconic Asia Pacific, said technology is the foothold for Chinese companies going abroad. Though mergers and acquisitions may help them acquire advanced technology, the fundamental solution, however, lies in innovation.
Copyedited by Sudeshna Sarkar
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