China says it will ac­tively pur­sue trade deals

The Sun (Malaysia) - - SUNBIZ -

BEI­JING: China said it will ac­tively par­tic­i­pate in bi­lat­eral and mul­ti­lat­eral trade deals, with the goal of deep­en­ing re­form and open­ing up its econ­omy, re­gard­less of the di­rec­tion the Trans Pa­cific Part­ner­ship (TPP) or the Chin­abacked Re­gional Com­pre­hen­sive Eco­nomic Part­ner­ship (RCEP) might take.

The state­ment fol­lows US Pres­i­den­t­elect Don­ald Trump say­ing he would with­draw the United States from the multi-coun­try TPP that ex­cludes China, putting RCEP – a ri­val pact that ex­cludes the United States – as the front-run­ner for new free trade deals in the re­gion.

When asked for clar­i­fi­ca­tion on the specifics of the planned re­form, com­merce min­istry spokesman Shen Danyang said in a brief­ing yes­ter­day that it was “com­pre­hen­sive” and in­cluded eco­nomic re­form.

China will push for RCEP ne­go­ti­a­tions to be sped up to con­clude soon, with full re­spect for the As­so­ci­a­tion of South­east Asian Na­tions’ (Asean) core sta­tus in the deal, Shen said.

Chi­nese Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping pledged at the Apec sum­mit in Peru to open the econ­omy fur­ther, as lead­ers of Asia-Pa­cific coun­tries sought new free-trade op­tions fol­low­ing the elec­tion of Trump whose cam­paign promised to scrap or rene­go­ti­ate trade deals.

The RCEP, which in­cludes Aus­tralia, In­dia and more than a dozen other coun­tries, is seen as per­haps the only path to the broader Free Trade Area of the Asi­aPa­cific to which Apec as­pires.

The China Daily said many Chi­nese com­men­ta­tors were rev­el­ling in the demise of the TPP, and called it an “ex­ces­sively com­plex” deal that was “doomed from the start”.

“En­cum­ber­ing a trade ar­range­ment with too many pol­i­tics isn’t the right way to do busi­ness,” the pa­per said in an edi­to­rial. – Reuters

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