Xi: Pro­tec­tion­ism leads to ‘nowhere’

Chi­nese pres­i­dent calls on world lead­ers to avoid closed doors, em­brace open­ness

China Daily (USA) - - FRONT PAGE - By AN BAIJIE in Lima, Peru an­bai­jie@chi­nadaily.com.cn Xin­hua con­trib­uted to this story.

Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping on Sun­day called for firm steps to push eco­nomic glob­al­iza­tion and boost free trade.

“His­tory has proven that pro­tec­tion­ism will get nowhere,” Xi said in a speech at the in­for­mal meet­ing of Asia-Pa­cific Eco­nomic Co­op­er­a­tion (APEC) lead­ers, which was held in Lima, cap­i­tal of Peru.

The 21 APEC mem­ber economies should pro­mote an open and in­te­grated econ­omy, en­hance con­nec­tiv­ity and boost re­form and in­no­va­tion, Xi said.

“We need to make it clear to the world with ac­tion that the com­mit­ment of the Asia-Pa­cific to eco­nomic glob­al­iza­tion is un­changed and its con­fi­dence undi­min­ished,” he added.

Xi called on the early es­tab­lish­ment of the Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pa­cific (FTAAP), say­ing that the FTAAP will pro­mote the econ­omy of the Asia—Pa­cific re­gion to a new level.

“To build the FTAAP will never be an easy task,” Xi said, adding that the FTAAP’s col­lec­tive strate­gic study was smoothly com­pleted this year, mark­ing a new phase in its de­vel­op­ment.

The idea of cre­at­ing the FTAAP was pro­posed eight years ago and was of­fi­cially launched at the Bei­jing APEC sum­mit in 2014.

“We need to ef­fec­tively ad­dress the frag­men­ta­tion of re­gional trade agree­ments, ad­vo­cate open­ness and in­clu­sive­ness, and avoid a closed­door pol­icy and ex­clu­sive­ness,” Xi told the APEC lead­ers.

This year’s APEC Eco­nomic Lead­ers’ Meet­ing comes against a back­drop of a

Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping

slug­gish global re­cov­ery, a lack of growth mo­men­tum, a back­lash against glob­al­iza­tion, weak trade and in­vest­ment, and grow­ing global chal­lenges that cloud the eco­nomic out­look.

Ac­cord­ing to an es­ti­mate by the In­ter­na­tional Mone­tary Fund, China’s con­tri­bu­tion to the Asian econ­omy has al­ready ex­ceeded 50 per­cent. With ev­ery per­cent­age point of growth in the Chi­nese econ­omy, Asia’s over­all econ­omy rises 0.3 per­cent.

“Now that the US is ap­par­ently turn­ing in­ward (with Don­ald Trump’s vic­tory in the US pres­i­den­tial elec­tion), it is es­pe­cially im­por­tant for China to take the driver’s seat in terms of push­ing for greater free trade in the re­gion, which ben­e­fits ev­ery­body,” Oh Ei Sun, an an­a­lyst at Sin­ga­pore’s Nanyang Tech­no­log­i­cal Univer­sity, was quoted by Xin­hua News Agency as say­ing.

Liu Chenyang, di­rec­tor of the APEC Study Cen­ter at Nankai Univer­sity in North China’s Tian­jin mu­nic­i­pal­ity, said that the FTAAP will hope­fully solve prob­lems such as the in­con­sis­tency in rules of ori­gin and dif­fer­ent FTAs ded­i­cated to dif­fer­ent ar­eas, thus re­duc­ing the costs of im­ple­ment­ing FTAs.

“The TPP (Trans-Pa­cific Part­ner­ship), for ex­am­ple, leads to vi­cious com­pe­ti­tion. Once the FTAAP be­comes re­al­ity, it will help ad­dress prob­lems aris­ing from a mass of in­ter­twined FTAs and push for­ward the in­te­gra­tion of a re­gional econ­omy,” he said.

“With eco­nomic re­struc­tur­ing, the ini­tia­tive of in­no­va­tion-driven growth and de­vel­op­ment of free trade zones, China boasts an in­creas­ingly opened-up and trans­par­ent mar­ket with greater mar­ket po­ten­tial and im­proved mar­ket en­vi­ron­ment,” he added.

We need to ef­fec­tively ad­dress the frag­men­ta­tion of re­gional trade agree­ments.”

It is “not the right choice” to make ex­clu­sive re­gional trade ar­range­ments as the Asia-Pa­cific re­gion is fac­ing the com­mon chal­lenge of pro­tec­tion­ism amid slow­ing trade growth, Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping said over the week­end in Lima, Peru.

Xi spoke in a key­note ad­dress at the Asia-Pa­cific Eco­nomic Co­op­er­a­tion CEO Sum­mit on Satur­day.

Xi told the gath­er­ing that boost­ing in­ter­con­nec­tiv­ity was im­por­tant to re­leas­ing de­vel­op­ment po­ten­tial, which is also the goal of the China-pro­posed Belt and Road Ini­tia­tive. The Silk Road Eco­nomic Belt and the 21st Cen­tury Mar­itime Silk Road ini­tia­tives, put for­ward by Xi in 2013, aim to re­vive an­cient trade routes, with an em­pha­sis on in­fra­struc­ture.

More than 100 coun­tries and global or­ga­ni­za­tions are par­tic­i­pat­ing in and sup­port­ing the ini­tia­tive, with a num­ber of ma­jor in­fra­struc­ture projects al­ready un­der­way, Xi added.

China’s im­port vol­ume will reach $8 tril­lion in the next five years and its num­ber of out­bound tourists will reach 700 mil­lion in the same pe­riod, Xi fore­cast, adding that China’s de­vel­op­ment was an op­por­tu­nity for the world.

Es­tab­lish­ing the Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pa­cific is a strate­gic mea­sure that will bol­ster the long-term pros­per­ity of the re­gion and should be pushed for­ward with firm de­ter­mi­na­tion, Xi said.

The FTAAP process was ini­tially launched at the 2014 APEC Eco­nomic Lead­ers’ Meet­ing in Bei­jing and its roadmap was en­dorsed.

The Chi­nese econ­omy has met with some chal­lenges in light of global slug­gish­ness, Xi said, adding that Bei­jing has taken a pos­i­tive role in eco­nomic ad­just­ments. These have helped keep China’s eco­nomic growth in the top tier of the world’s pri­mary economies.

China, as the world’s sec­ond­largest econ­omy, has called for safe­guard­ing the global free trade sys­tem and op­pos­ing pro­tec­tion­ism.

Raul Salazar, APEC af­fairs di­rec­tor at the Peru­vian For­eign Min­istry, called FTAAP nec­es­sary for the global econ­omy.

“This step taken in Bei­jing ... has forced all mem­bers to face the re­al­ity that this is nec­es­sary for a num­ber of rea­sons,” he said. “Peru holds the po­si­tion that we need an Asia-Pa­cific free trade area. It would al­low for APEC’s work to be deep­ened and would see free trade agree­ments pro­lif­er­ate.”

Liu Chenyang, di­rec­tor of the APEC Study Cen­ter at Tian­jin-based Nankai Univer­sity, said, “Pro­mot­ing re­gional eco­nomic in­te­gra­tion re­quires bal­anc­ing the in­ter­ests of all par­ties, meet­ing the de­mands of the de­vel­oped and de­vel­op­ing economies, and for­mu­lat­ing the frame­work and mech­a­nism of in­clu­sive co­op­er­a­tion.”

Af­ter at­tend­ing APEC meet­ings, Xi will pay his first state visit to Peru, only about two months af­ter his Peru­vian coun­ter­part Pe­dro Pablo Kuczyn­ski made China his first of­fi­cial desti­na­tion abroad.

Xi will hold talks with Kuczyn­ski, meet the pres­i­dent of the Peru­vian Congress, Luz Sal­gado, and give a speech be­fore Congress.

The two heads of state are also sched­uled to at­tend the clos­ing cer­e­monies of the China-Latin Amer­ica and Caribbean 2016 Year of Cul­ture Ex­change.


From left, front row: Aus­tralia’s Prime Min­is­ter Mal­colm Turn­bull, Brunei’s Sul­tan Has­sanal Bolkiah, Canada’s Prime Min­is­ter Justin Trudeau, Chile’s Pres­i­dent Michelle Bachelet, China’s Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping, Peru’s Pres­i­dent Pe­dro Pablo Kuczyn­ski, Hong Kong Chief Ex­ec­u­tive Le­ung Chun-ying, In­done­sia’s Vice-Pres­i­dent Jusuf Kalla, Ja­panese Prime Min­is­ter Shinzo Abe, South Korean Prime Min­is­ter Hwang Kyo-ahn, Malaysian Prime Min­is­ter Na­jib Razak. Back row: Mex­ico’s Econ­omy Min­is­ter Ilde­fonso Gua­jardo, New Zealand’s Prime Min­is­ter John Key, Pa­pua New Guinea’s Prime Min­is­ter Peter O’Neill, Philip­pines For­eign Af­fairs Sec­re­tary Per­fecto Yasay, Rus­sia’s Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin, Sin­ga­pore’s Prime Min­is­ter Lee Hsien Loong, Chi­nese Taipei’s spe­cial en­voy James Soong, Thai­land’s Deputy Prime Min­is­ter Pra­jin Jun­tong, US Pres­i­dent Barack Obama and Viet­nam’s Pres­i­dent Tran Dai Quang, pose for a fam­ily photo dur­ing the APEC (Asia-Pa­cific Eco­nomic Co­op­er­a­tion) Sum­mit in Lima, Peru, on Sun­day.


Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping de­liv­ers a key­note ad­dress at the Asia-Pa­cific Eco­nomic Co­op­er­a­tion CEO Sum­mit in Lima, Peru on Satur­day.

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