Four key pro­pos­als top APEC agenda

Meet­ings over the week­end to pro­mote growth

China Daily (Canada) - - ADVERTISEMENT - By ZHONG­NAN zhong­nan@chi­

Four key pro­pos­als, in­clud­ing the cre­ation of a Free­Trade Area of the Asia-Pa­cific and a global value chain, will be con­sid­ered at the 2014 min­is­te­rial meet­ings of the Asia-Pa­cific Eco­nomic Co­op­er­a­tion on Fri­day and Satur­day to fur­ther fuel the re­gion’s ro­bust growth.

Zhang Shao­gang, di­rec­tor­gen­eral of the depart­ment of in­ter­na­tional trade and eco­nomic af­fairs un­der theM­i­nistry of Com­merce, said the top­ics — FTAAP, a mul­ti­lat­eral trad­ing sys­tem, the global value chain and eco­nomic and tech­nol­ogy co­op­er­a­tion — were de­ter­mined after a year of high-level talks in­volv­ingAPEC mem­bers in dif­fer­ent lo­ca­tions and will be dis­cussed at the up­com­ing lead­ers’ meet­ing in Beijing on Mon­day and Tues­day. They may be­come part of the ac­tion guide­line un­der the APEC frame­work if lead­ers from the 21 mem­ber economies agree.

“To fur­ther broaden re­gional trade lib­er­al­iza­tion, China will step up ef­forts to pro­mote the im­ple­men­ta­tion of a mul­ti­lat­eral and bi­lat­eral Free Trade Area strat­egy, as well as in­creas­ing the ex­change of opin­ions of the de­vel­op­ment of the Trans-Pa­cific Part­ner­ship and the Re­gional Com­pre­hen­sive Eco­nomic Part­ner­ship,” Zhang said.

Fifty-six bi­lat­eral, tri­lat­eral and mul­ti­lat­eral agree­ments cov­er­ing free trade zones have been im­ple­mented by economies in the APEC re­gion.

China be­lieves a re­gional free trade agree­ment would help to in­te­grate th­ese ex­ist­ing agree­mentsan­dreducethe risk of over­lap and frag­men­ta­tion.

The FTAAP con­cept was pro­posed in 2004 and writ­ten into the dec­la­ra­tion of the APEC eco­nomic lead­ers’ meet­ing in 2006. China pro­posed the prepa­ra­tion of a fea­si­bil­ity study ear­lier this year.

Zhang re­it­er­ated China’s stance of op­pos­ing trade pro­tec­tion­ism in all its forms. China will work to en­cour­age all par­ties to agree on the ex­ten­sion— from 2016 to 2018— of the com­mit­ment reached by APEC lead­ers pre­vi­ously that no party should raise new trade and in­vest­ment bar­ri­ers.

“The APEC de­vel­op­ing economies are on fast tracks of in­dus­tri­al­iza­tion. Their gov­ern­ments have ac­quired greater room for pol­icy adjustment and big­ger re­gional mar­ket space to tackle global eco­nomic fluc­tu­a­tions,” said Zhang Jian­ping, di­rec­tor of the in­ter­na­tional eco­nomic co­op­er­a­tion in­sti­tute of the Na­tional De­vel­op­ment and Re­form Com­mis­sion.

Since eco­nomic im­prove­ment of the de­vel­op­ing economies over pre­vi­ous years has re­sulted in the ac­cu­mu­la­tion of sig­nif­i­cant fi­nan­cial re­sources, trained la­bor forces and an in­dus­trial foun­da­tion, Zhang Jian­ping said, it is the time for coun­tries such as China, ASEAN mem­bers and South Pa­cific economies to push a se­ries of struc­tural re­forms and fur­ther par­tic­i­pate in a bind­ing mul­ti­lat­eral co­op­er­a­tion ar­range­ment.

China cur­rently is hop­ing to com­plete ne­go­ti­a­tions for the China-South Korea and Chi­nafree trade ar­eas as soon as pos­si­ble, push for the up­grad­ing of the Chi­naASEAN FTA and achieve sub­stan­tial progress in the ChinaJapan-South Korea FTA ne­go­ti­a­tions.

Trade be­tween China and other APEC mem­bers last year amounted to $2.5 tril­lion, or 60 per­cent of the coun­try’s to­tal trade vol­ume, while 69 per­cent of China’s out­bound di­rect in­vest­ment went to APEC economies. APEC mem­bers pro­vided 83 per­cent of for­eign in­vest­ment.

Liu Chenyang, a re­searcher at the APEC study cen­ter at Tian­jin-based Nankai Univer­sity, said the re­al­ity in the APEC re­gion is that de­vel­oped economies are still the cen­ter of tech­no­log­i­cal in­no­va­tion, while most de­vel­op­ing economies are not strong enough in many fields.

“Height­en­ing vig­i­lance against fi­nan­cial risk, work­ing out plans for more cut­tingedge tech­nolo­gies, ac­cel­er­at­ing the pace of the global value chain and im­prov­ing eco­nomic and tech­no­log­i­cal co­op­er­a­tion be­tween de­vel­oped and de­vel­op­ing economies could ef­fec­tively solve is­sues of en­ergy, so­cial de­vel­op­ment, ed­u­ca­tion and the en­vi­ron­ment within the re­gion,” Liu said.

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