Li: Na­tion is open-minded on free trade agree­ments

China Daily (Canada) - - VIEWS - By ZHONGNANand REN XIAOJIN

Premier says that glob­al­iza­tion is key to world peace

China takes an open at­ti­tude to­ward re­gional free trade ar­range­ments that con­cern it and where the con­di­tions are in place, Premier Li Ke­qiang said onWed­nes­day.

Li said China has no in­ten­tion of ex­ceed­ing its du­ties and en­ter­ing ar­range­ments in which its due role is not rec­og­nized.

The premier made the re­marks when asked whether China is fill­ing the United States’ place to lead the Tran­sPa­cific Part­ner­ship, and his opin­ion about the cur­rent global trade map at a news con­fer­ence af­ter the close of the an­nual ses­sion of the Na­tional Peo­ple’s Con­gress in Bei­jing.

“China has been fo­cus­ing on the Re­gional Com­pre­hen­sive Eco­nomic Part­ner­ship and other free trade deals with coun­tries and re­gional or­ga­ni­za­tions in­clud­ing the Gulf Co­op­er­a­tion Coun­cil and Is­rael,” said Jiang Shan, a re­searcher at the Bei­jing­based Cen­ter for China and Glob­al­iza­tion.

Jiang said that even though a num­ber of trade deals such as the TPP, the RCEP, and the Free Trade Area of theAsia-Pa­cific are be­ing dis­cussed, they must be aware that if one is too ide­al­is­tic or rad­i­cal, if the stan­dards are too high or the pace is too fast, the re­sult may not nec­es­sar­ily live up to ex­pec­ta­tions, and may turn out to be just the op­po­site.

“The is­sue is how China views the na­ture of the TPP and other deals. We can also list a long string of al­ter­na­tives such as the­World Trade Or­ga­ni­za­tion, the China-Ja­panSouth Korea Free Trade Agree­ment and the China-US Bi­lat­eral In­vest­ment Treaty,” said Zhang Wenkui, a re­searcher at the Devel­op­ment Re­search Cen­ter of the State Coun­cil.

Un­der such cir­cum­stances, Premier Li stressed that the Chi­nese peo­ple un­der­stand the coun­try should seize the op­por­tu­ni­ties of glob­al­iza­tion through open­ing-up, no mat­ter what the chal­lenges are.

All coun­tries have ben­e­fited from glob­al­iza­tion, though there have been some prob­lems in the process, Li said.

“China is will­ing to work with other coun­tries to im­prove the global gov­er­nance sys­tem,” he added.

Glob­al­iza­tion is insep­a­ra­ble to peace, devel­op­ment and co­op­er­a­tion, he said, adding that clos­ing the door and adopt­ing beg­gar-thy-neigh­bor poli­cies will solve no prob­lems.

Li said China does not want to see a trade war be­tween China and the United States be­cause that will re­sult in no ben­e­fits to bi­lat­eral trade.

He also urged the Euro­pean Union to ease its high-tech ex­port re­stric­tions on China, con­cern­ing the bloc’s trade deficit with China.

“China has no in­ten­tion of pur­su­ing a trade sur­plus. In fact, China prefers a trade bal­ance, other­wise it won’t be sus­tain­able,” Li said, point­ing out that Euro­pean com­pa­nies are sit­u­ated at the higher end of the industrial value chain and al­ready mak­ing a lot of money on the Chi­nese mar­ket.

China looks for­ward to a pos­i­tive re­sponse from the EU on the on­go­ing Bi­lat­eral In­vest­ment Treaty ne­go­ti­a­tions, the premier said, adding that even without a BIT for the mo­ment, China will fur­ther open its mar­ket to Euro­pean com­pa­nies and treat them the same as do­mes­tic ones.

A high-stan­dard BIT be­tween China and the EU will aid bi­lat­eral open­ing-up, said Li.

China has no in­ten­tion of pur­su­ing a trade sur­plus. In fact, China prefers a trade bal­ance ...”

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In­spec­tors check im­ported cars at a port in Qing­dao, Shan­dong prov­ince. Premier Li Ke­qiang said on Wed­nes­day that China vig­or­ously ad­vo­cates glob­al­iza­tion and free trade.

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