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APEC: China wins support for trade plan

APEC leaders on Tuesday agreed to work towards possible adoption of a “historic” free-trade deal proposed by China, in a victory for the Communist giant as it strives for a bigger role in formulating global trade policy.

world Updated: Nov 11, 2014 23:41 IST
APEC

APEC leaders on Tuesday agreed to work towards possible adoption of a “historic” free-trade deal proposed by China, in a victory for the Communist giant as it strives for a bigger role in formulating global trade policy.

The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) members’ endorsement of a roadmap for promoting the Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific (FTAAP) process was “a decision to be written into history books”, Chinese President Xi Jinping said here.

The move was “a historic step we took in the direction towards realising the FTAAP,” marking the official launch of the FTAAP process and demonstrating the confidence and determination of the APEC in advancing regional economic integration, Xi said at a press conference after the conclusion of the 22nd APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting.

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The FTAAP would build on other initiatives including the smaller US-backed Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), but China’s firm push for its plan over US President Barack Obama’s TPP proposal has added to Sino-US trade rivalry.

The decision will bring the integration to a new and higher level, benefit economies at various development stages across the Pacific Ocean and inject new energy into the growth of the region and APEC members, the president said.

“We have reached consensus that regional economic integration is the driving force behind sustained strong growth in the Asia-Pacific, and APEC should continue to play a leading and coordinating role in pushing forward this process,” Xi said, state run Xinhua news agency reported.

Xi was the host for the two-day summit where he pushed for China’s free trade vision for the Asia Pacific region and asked APEC to “break open closed doors” as leaders of the grouping held talks on forging consensus over opening up commerce in the resource-rich and economically dynamic region.

Besides accounting for more than 50% of global gross domestic product, 21-member APEC also makes up nearly half of world trade and 40 percent of the Earth’s population.