China looks to re­gional in­te­gra­tion

With Nov gath­er­ing, Bei­jing to show its will­ing­ness to take on global ini­tia­tives

China Daily (Canada) - - CHINA - By ZHENG YANGPENG in Ningbo, Zhe­jiang prov­ince

China is hop­ing the Asia-Pa­cific Eco­nomic Co­op­er­a­tion meet­ing in Novem­ber, the first it will host in 13 years, will help “speed up” eco­nomic in­te­gra­tion in the re­gion and “bring it to a new level”.

The host has de­fined three pri­or­i­ties for the meet­ing: ad­vanc­ing re­gional eco­nomic in­te­gra­tion; pro­mot­ing in­no­va­tive de­vel­op­ment, eco­nomic re­form and growth; and strength­en­ing com­pre­hen­sive con­nec­tiv­ity and in­fra­struc­ture de­vel­op­ment, APEC of­fi­cials said.

They made the re­marks at this year’s Se­nior Of­fi­cials’ Meet­ing, which held its open­ing cer­e­mony on Thurs­day in Ningbo, Zhe­jiang prov­ince, and con­cludes on Fri­day, pre­cedes the Eco­nomic Lead­ers’ Meet­ing, to be held on Nov 10 and 11 in Yanqi Lake, a re­sort town 50 km from down­town Bei­jing.

“The Asia-Pa­cific re­gion needs to speed up re­gional eco­nomic in­te­gra­tion and bring it to a new level.

We need to tackle bot­tle­necks, such as in­fra­struc­ture de­vel­op­ment, and set up a re­gional frame­work of co­op­er­a­tion.” LI BAODONG VICE-MIN­IS­TER OF FOR­EIGN AF­FAIRS

We need to tackle bot­tle­necks, such as in­fra­struc­ture de­vel­op­ment, and set up a re­gional frame­work of co­op­er­a­tion,” Vice-Min­is­ter of For­eign Af­fairs Li Baodong said at the open­ing cer­e­mony on Thurs­day.

The last time China hosted the top fo­rum, in 2001 in Shang­hai, it was the sev­enth-largest econ­omy in the world, be­hind Italy.

The lead­ers’ meet­ing, us­ing the theme “Shap­ing the fu­ture through Asia-Pa­cific part­ner­ship”, comes as China, now the world’s sec­ond­largest econ­omy, is seek­ing to ex­pand its in­flu­ence around the world and demon­strate it is will­ing and ca­pa­ble of tak­ing on global ini­tia­tives. The na­tion will likely be tak­ing steps at the APEC meet­ing to do so.

“This year, the global econ­omy is show­ing signs of re­cov­er­ing with stronger growth mo­men­tum than be­fore. At the same time, risks and un­cer­tain­ties still ex­ist. Re­viv­ing the global econ­omy and main­tain­ing its healthy growth is still a task filled with many chal­lenges. APEC mem­ber economies play a great role in pro­mot­ing global growth, and the eco­nomic per­for­mance of the re­gion will have ei­ther a di­rect or in­di­rect im­pact on the global econ­omy,” Li said.

Alan Bol­lard, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of the APEC Sec­re­tariat, said ne­go­ti­a­tions on sev­eral ma­jor trade agree­ments are pro­ceed­ing this year, such as the Trans-Pa­cific Part­ner­ship Agree­ment and the Re­gional Com­pre­hen­sive Eco­nomic Part­ner­ship, but the ma­jor­ity of the part­ner­ships around the globe fo­cus on trade. APEC, he said, is “ul­ti­mately in­ter­ested in im­prov­ing hu­man liv­ing con­di­tions and eco­nomic wel­fare”.

“China this year de­cided it wants to fo­cus on in­no­va­tive growth, sus­tain­able growth, ur­ban­iza­tion, green de­vel­op­ment,” he said.

Ana Novik, di­rec­tor of mul­ti­lat­eral eco­nomic af­fairs in Chile’s Min­istry of For­eign Re­la­tions’ Direc­torate for In­ter­na­tional Eco­nomic Re­la­tions, at­tended meet­ings on Thurs­day and said that un­like the World Trade Or­ga­ni­za­tion, APEC is an on­go­ing fo­rum for di­a­logue.

“But when you have a ma­jor econ­omy like China as the host, you have the op­por­tu­nity to high­light some el­e­ments that are im­por­tant for you, and this is what China is do­ing,” she said.

“For ex­am­ple, as China is a ma­jor trader, it can em­pha­size trade fa­cil­i­ta­tion and make some strong state­ments there.”

GAO ERQIANG / CHINA DAILY

Vice-Min­is­ter of For­eign Af­fairs Li Baodong (cen­ter left) at­tends the APEC Se­nior Of­fi­cials’ Meet­ing in Ningbo, Zhe­jiang prov­ince, on Thurs­day.

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