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Xi urges strong backing for Asia Pacific FTA at APEC
November 11, 2014, 5:11 am

 

Chinese President Xi Jinping (C), his wife Peng Liyuan (R) and U.S. President Barack Obama pose for photo before a welcome banquet for the 22nd Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Economic Leaders' Meeting in B?eijing, capital of China, Nov. 10, 2014 [Xinhua]

Chinese President Xi Jinping (C), his wife Peng Liyuan (R) and U.S. President Barack Obama pose for photo before a welcome banquet for the 22nd Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Economic Leaders’ Meeting in B?eijing, capital of China, Nov. 10, 2014 [Xinhua]

The 22nd Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Economic Leaders’ Meeting kicked off in Beijing Tuesday morning with China urging concrete actions to facilitate global free trade and improve connectivity, spur innovation.

Chinese President Xi Jinping said APEC must “vigorously promote the Asia-Pacific free trade zone”. The China-backed Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific (FTAAP) is being seen as Beijing’s counter to the US-led TPP.

“We need to translate the consensus into actions and make development blueprints for the next five, ten and even 25 years,” said Xi.

The 21-member APEC, which includes the Russia, China, US, Japan, South Korea, Indonesia and Canada will, on Tuesday, formally launch the mammoth China-backed Asia Pacific FTA negotiations despite reported opposition from the US.

The Chinese President said earlier on Monday that the FTAAP “does not go against existing free trade arrangements”.

The FTA, if implemented, will add an estimated $2.4 trillion to the global economy, says a new survey by Pacific Economic Cooperation Council (PECC).

A Wall Street Journal report earlier this week said the US was trying to block China’s efforts at introducing the Asia Pacific FTA negotiations.

Xi also announced that China will donate $10 million for institutional development and capacity building of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) on Tuesday.

“How can we resolve the risks that regional economic integration goes fragmented? How can we seek new growth momentum in the post-financial crisis era? How can we break the financing bottleneck for connectivity development?” Xi said.

“To realize the plans we have set, the APEC needs mutual trust, inclusiveness, collaboration and mutual benefit,” he added.

At the end of Tuesday’s meet, members will release a joint statement on the 25th anniversary of the APEC, and make a blueprint to lay foundation for all-round connectivity in the Asia-Pacific.

The 21-member APEC involves a population of 2.8 billion, or 40 percent of the global total, and produces 57 percent of the global gross domestic product (GDP) and contributes 46 percent of global trade.

 

TBP and Agencies

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