MANILA, Philippines – Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday, November 18, pushed for a China-initiated trade deal in his keynote speech at regional business forum with Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) leaders.
Xi described the proposed trade deal, the Free Trade Agreement of the Asia Pacific (FTAAP), as a "milestone" during the APEC Summit hosted by China in 2014.
“We need to accelerate the realization of FTAAP and take regional economic integration forward,” Xi said in his speech at the APEC CEO Summit in Manila.
“We must commit ourselves to win-win cooperation, oppose protectionism, and promote fair competition,” he added.
The FTAAP, first proposed in 2006 and pushed by China during its chairmanship of APEC in 2014, is seen as a potential rival to the US-led Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). APEC ministers and business leaders, however, regard the TPP as one of the "building blocks" of FTAAP.
If realized, the FTAAP would become the world's largest free trade area, encompassing TPP and other regional frameworks. (READ: Asia-Pacific free trade agreement to streamline trade deals, not rival TPP)
“We must adhere to the concept of win-win cooperation and community of shared future, cooperate while competing, and achieving development through cooperation,” the Chinese leader said.
In his speech, Xi also urged leaders of APEC economies to study “how to put the Asia-Pacific economy on the right track.”
“While developed economies need to be more forthcoming about sharing best practices, developing economies should explore more boldly, increase import, and try to catch up more quickly,” Xi said.
He also stressed that China “is working vigorously to overcome difficulties and meet challenges,” especially this year “with global growth slowing down.” – with reports from KD Suarez/Rappler.com
Paterno R. Esmaquel II is a senior reporter leading Rappler’s coverage of religion and foreign affairs. He finished MA Journalism in Ateneo and MSc Asian Studies (Religions in Plural Societies) at RSIS, Singapore. For story ideas or feedback, email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.