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Gao Hucheng: Further Cooperate with APEC to Jointly Build a Future-oriented Asia-Pacific Partnership


On May 14, the People’s Daily published a signed paper “Further Cooperate with APEC to Jointly Build a Future-oriented Asia-Pacific Partnership” written by Mr. Gao Hucheng, the Minister of Commerce of PRC, as follows:

Further Cooperate with APEC to Jointly Build a Future-oriented Asia-Pacific Partnership

In 2014, China becomes the host of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) once again after 13 years. The “Year of China” comes for APEC with the anticipation of all parties. President Xi Jinping said in the informal APEC Economic Leaders’ Meetings in October 2013, “We will, taking this opportunity and focusing on the future of APEC, seek to build closer partnerships, deepen pragmatic cooperation and enhance the leading role of APEC in shaping the long-term development vision of the Asia-Pacific region.” A series of meetings for APEC’s Year of China will, guided by President Xi’s words, focus on the theme of “Jointly Building a Future-oriented Asia-Pacific Partnership” to intensively discuss topics (such as promoting regional economic integration, encouraging innovative development, reforming and developing economy, enhancing comprehensive infrastructure, and implementing interconnection and interoperation) and to elaborately delineate the beautiful blueprint of common prosperity and development for Asia and Pacific.

Asia and Pacific is the most potential and dynamic region in economy and trade in the world, and APEC plays a significant leading role in promoting regional economic integration and economic globalization. Since its establishment in 1989, APEC has always adhered to the opening-up spirit of regionalism, focused on the Bogor Goals established by the leaders in 1994, positively promoted the liberalization and facilitation of trade and investment, and strengthened the economic and technical cooperation of the members; therefore, fruitful results have been achieved. The percentages of Asia and Pacific’s value of foreign trade and economic aggregate in the world have respectively increased to 46% and 57%; the economy of Asia and Pacific has become an important engine to the growth of world’s economy, and the regional cooperation and construction of free trade zones have taken the lead in the world. As a regionally largest and highest-ranking organization for economic cooperation, APEC is not only an important platform for policy communication and economic cooperation within Asia and Pacific, but also one of the important pillars for global economy integration, with an increasingly significant and intensive effect on the development of global economy and trade.

China’s development relates to Asia and Pacific for it is a member of the Asia and Pacific family, and Asia and Pacific would be prosperous without China. After joining APEC, China enjoys increasingly close economic and trade exchanges with other APEC members, with continuously economic integration. In 2013, China’s trade volume with APEC members accounted for 60% of the value of foreign trade; 83% foreign investment in practice was from APEC members, and 69% of China’s direct investment flowed to APEC members.
Among the top ten trade partners of China, eight countries are members of APEC. At present, the Chinese Government is fully deepening its reform policy to accelerate the building of a new and open economic system in accordance with the strategy made in the 18th National Party Congress of CPC and the Third Plenary Session of the 18th CPC Central Committee, and working hard to realize the objective of doubling the GDP and the per capita income of urban and rural residents in 2020 based on those in 2010. This will create tremendous new business opportunities for enterprises in Asia and Pacific. China will consistently adhere to the opening-up strategy for mutual benefits and win-win results, and is willing to share the development opportunities brought by the reform and opening-up with APEC members to enhance interaction in economic cooperation and expand intersections of benefits.
China always attaches great importance to and actively participates in the cooperation within APEC, and is willing to contribute more for the development of APEC in the new era. A meeting for trade ministers of APEC will be held in Qingdao, Shandong on May 17-18. This meeting is the first ministerial meeting in the Year of China and also an important preparatory meeting for the informal APEC Economic Leaders' Meetings in November. We sincerely welcome the trade minister of each member and distinguished guests to gather in Qingdao to discuss the grand economic and trade cooperation and development plan of Asia and Pacific together, jointly building a positive, feasible, future-oriented and Asia and Pacific benefitted regional cooperation framework and seeking the common prosperity and development through tighter partnership.

Firstly, promote the integration of regional economy and build an open and integrated market within Asia and Pacific.

In recent years, Asia and Pacific became the most energetic region in the world for free trade. The free trade zones (FTZ) greatly increased the trade contacts among APEC members. However, the overlap and different rules and standards of the FTZ members resulted in the ‘noodle bowl’ effect and imposed quite a lot of troubles on the enterprises' recognition and use of the rules, limiting the great potential of trade liberalization. APEC needs to give play to its leading role more initiatively, undertake the historic mission of leading the economic integration of Asia and Pacific, and gradually integrate the free trade networks of the members to expedite the FTZ construction in Asia and Pacific to timely realization of the grand vision proposed by the leaders for FTZ in Asia and Pacific. China is willing to adhere to the principle of opening-up, tolerance and transparency together with other members, strengthen the information communication and the capability building, and start the feasibility study on Asia and Pacific FTZ in time to actively create conditions for economic integration in Asia and Pacific.

Secondly, support the multilateral trading system and oppose the trade protectionism.

APEC members are always the sturdy defenders and positive promoters of the multilateral trading system. Currently, the Doha Round of WTO has broken the deadlock for years, and the world is facing new historic opportunities. China is willing to cooperate with other APEC members to promote the multilateral trading system, continue to give play to the main channel functions specified in international trade rules, truly implement the Bali Package of WTO, expedite the formulation of the “post-Bali” work plan, and comprehensively finish the Doha Round negotiations on the basis of respecting the development authorization and the past negotiation results. Each party shall duly fulfill APEC’s commitment for tax reduction for environmental products and initiatively participate in the negotiations on environmental products under the framework of WTO. We shall uphold the flag of trade liberalization all along to steadfastly oppose trade protectionism of various kinds and properly handle all trade frictions through conversation and negotiation so as to jointly maintain an open, just and preferential global trading system.

Thirdly, deepen the cooperation on global value chain and promote the common development of members.

The formation of global value chain is an important sign that the trade and industrial cooperation in economies has developed to a new level, and is also a new motivation for the intensified development of trade and investment liberalization. As Asia and Pacific is a region with the most widely distributed and most developed global value chain, all the members shall sufficiently give play to their comparative advantages and positively participate in the global value chain to further promote the integration of regional economy and realize the Bogor Goals at an early date. The members shall devote themselves to clearing the chokepoints hindering the connection of regional supply chain, reducing the transaction cost, and promoting free flow of goods, services and people to achieve the objective of improving the regional supply chain performance index by 10% by 2015 as planned. They shall also put more efforts in the economic and technical cooperation as well as capability building to promote the rotation of the “two wheels” of trade and investment liberalization and economic and technical cooperation at the same speed and realize the common and sustainable development of Asia and Pacific.

Fourthly, promote the innovative development, reform and develop and enhance the engine power for the global growth of Asia and Pacific.

After the international financial crisis, Asia and Pacific economies have shaken off the shadow of the crisis upon grand stimulation policies and stepped into the key stage of steady economic recovery. Without accelerating the structural reform and transformation of development mode, the economy of Asia and Pacific may lose the growing power once again, causing difficult reemergence of a new round of prosperity. Promoting the innovative development, reform and growth of economy is the common task of Asia and Pacific economies. APEC shall promote its members to form a consensus on the innovative development, reform and growth of economy, put forward long-term cooperation objectives, prepare the roadmap and timetable, exchange experiences in fields such as economic reform, new economy, innovative growth, tolerant support and urbanization, strengthen the conversation on policies, attach importance to the capability building and deepen the pragmatic cooperation, therefore enabling Asia and Pacific to continuously play the leading role in a new round of global economic growth.

Fifthly, strengthen the construction of infrastructure and interconnection, and build an all-around interconnection pattern for Asia and Pacific.
As a region with the fastest economic development in the world, Asia and Pacific has a huge demand for infrastructure, interconnection, and interoperation, with a broad space for cooperation. APEC shall give great impetus to the infrastructure, interconnection, and interoperation to make economies more closely connect each other in geographic space, achieve faster and more efficient flowing of commodities and people, and truly realize the goal of “easy travel for people and smooth flow for goods”, to place a solid foundation of the integral economic development of Asia and Pacific. APEC members shall work together to build an all-around interconnection and interoperation pattern integrated with hardware, software and cultural exchange and crossing both banks of the Pacific, and realize the grand market, connection and development of Asia and Pacific.

The year 2014 is the 25th anniversary of APEC’s foundation and the 20th anniversary of the establishment of Bogor Goals. The APEC’s meetings in this year burden the special mission of serving as the link between past and future and are significant to the future development of economic and trade cooperation in Asia and Pacific. China is willing to have intensified and honest communication and deepen the all-around cooperation with other members to promote APEC to achieve positive, pragmatic and comprehensive cooperation results in fields such as liberalization and facilitation of trade and investment, economic and technical cooperation, compact the economic and trade foundation for the future-oriented partnership in Asia and Pacific, and make new contributions to promoting the common prosperity and development of Asia and Pacific and enhancing the well-being of people in both Asia and Pacific and the world.

Translated by Huang Lin

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