The 26th APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting will be held in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea from 17 to 18 November. President Xi Jinping will attend the meeting upon invitation. On 13 November, the People’s Daily and mainstream media in Papua New Guinea published signed article by Assistant Foreign Minister Zhang Jun entitled “A Common Future for an Open Asia-Pacific”. The article reviews the achievements of APEC economic cooperation, and expresses expectation of the upcoming Leaders’ Meeting in Moresby. The full text is as follows:
A Common Future for an Open Asia-Pacific
The 26th APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting will be held in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea from 17 to 18 November. President Xi Jinping will attend the meeting upon invitation. It will be the first time for the meeting to be held in a Pacific island country. As the international economic landscape is undergoing profound adjustment, multilateralism and the multilateral trading system are being challenged, and Asia-Pacific economic cooperation enters a critical stage, the meeting has drawn close attention from all sides.
APEC is a pioneer and pacesetter of economic cooperation in the Asia-Pacific and beyond. As APEC started with and prospered on economic globalization, openness and inclusiveness is its inherent and defining feature. Over the years, guided by the cooperation vision with Bogor Goals at its core, APEC has offered its support to the multilateral trading system, and taken independent and collective actions to promote trade and investment liberalization and facilitation in the Asia-Pacific, which has become the world’s most vibrant economic region with the greatest growth potential. Facing the challenges from backlash against economic globalization and rise of unilateralism and protectionism, the international community looks to APEC to continue to chart the course for open regional economic cooperation, blaze a new trail for economic development in the Asia-Pacific, and inject positive impetus into the world economy.
We expect APEC to stay true to its founding mission and follow the right course of building an open economy in the Asia-Pacific. For decades, the APEC region has remained an important engine of global growth, with intra-regional trade growing faster than GDP and accounting for a larger share in total trade than the world’s average. This is attributed to the commitment of APEC members to the principle of free trade and open economy. We hope that the Port Moresby meeting will build on APEC’s fine tradition, continue to champion trade and investment liberalization and facilitation, and express clear support for the multilateral trading system and opposition against protectionism, so as to encourage greater openness, inclusiveness and win-win cooperation in the Asia-Pacific.
We expect APEC to continue to play a leading and coordinating role in deepening and expanding regional economic cooperation. Regional economic integration is the abiding objective of APEC. Over the years, in view of the differences among its members in development realities, APEC has committed itself to building a framework of open, inclusive and balanced regional economic cooperation that benefits all, and advancing trade and investment liberalization and facilitation in tandem with economic and technical cooperation, setting an example for promoting economic integration among members at different development stages. The establishment of a Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific (FTAAP) is a necessary step toward greater economic integration in the region and serves the long-term interests of all parties. We hope that the upcoming meeting will keep up with the trend of the times and introduce more concrete and vigorous measures toward the goal of an FTAAP.
We expect APEC to follow the spirit of innovation and foster new drivers for economic growth. In recent years, APEC cooperation has gone beyond traditional areas of trade and investment to cover connectivity, digital economy and structural reforms, which have become new bright spots in Asia-Pacific regional cooperation. In view of the theme chosen for this year’s Leaders’ Meeting “Harnessing Inclusive Opportunities, Embracing the Digital Economy”, it is our hope that APEC will seize the historical opportunity of technological and industrial revolution, deepen practical cooperation in such areas as the digital economy and establish an all-round, multi-dimensional connectivity network to promote inclusive growth and deliver greater benefits to the people across the region.
As its firm supporter, China has participated in and contributed to Asia-Pacific economic cooperation. Since 2013, President Xi has attended the APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting for five years in a row. In 2014, President Xi chaired the APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting in Beijing, which made historic progress in such areas as the FTAAP, connectivity, economic reform, innovative growth and urbanization, injecting a fresh momentum into the development of APEC and that of the Asia-Pacific region. By actively implementing the outcomes of the Leaders’ Meetings including the one in Beijing and promoting Asia-Pacific economic cooperation with concrete actions, China has played an important leading role in promoting the development of APEC and the region.
China has honored the spirit of the Asia-Pacific partnership with concrete actions. Within APEC, China has called for a future-oriented partnership in the spirit of mutual trust, inclusiveness, and win-win cooperation. It has advocated the building of an open economy in the region featuring innovative development, interconnected growth, and shared interests. Moreover, it has unequivocally voiced support for an open world economy and expressed opposition to protectionism. All these major propositions offer China’s wisdom and proposals for deepening the Asia-Pacific partnership and removing obstacles to development.
China has created greater development space for the Asia-Pacific with concrete actions. China is committed to advancing opening-up at a higher level and boosting Asia-Pacific development with its own growth. Today, the Chinese economy is deeply integrated into the Asia-Pacific: it is now the largest trading partner for 16 APEC economies, and 59 percent of China’s total trade is with fellow APEC members. Domestically, China has accelerated institutional reform and innovation to offer a market-oriented, law-based, and world-class business environment. In this year’s World Bank report, China’s ease-of-doing-business ranking has moved up 32 places. A more open and prosperous China will present greater development opportunities to fellow APEC members and deliver more benefits to people in the region.
China has advanced regional cooperation on connectivity with concrete actions. Connectivity holds the key to interconnected and coordinated development of the Asia-Pacific. China has championed and actively implemented the APEC Connectivity Blueprint, and worked to forge synergy between Asia-Pacific connectivity cooperation and the Belt and Road Initiative. It has initiated the APEC Sub-Fund on Connectivity to provide financial support to relevant APEC projects, with a view to injecting strong impetus into the long-term development of the region.
China has promoted common development of the Asia-Pacific with concrete actions. Deeply and extensively involved in APEC practical cooperation, China has supported economic and technical cooperation and capacity-building projects in areas ranging from regional economic integration, human resources, science and technology, environment, to SMEs, women and urbanization. These concrete efforts are aimed to help other developing members to build up capacity for independent development so that no member in the APEC family will be left behind in economic globalization.
Next year will mark the 30th anniversary of the founding of APEC. We have good reason to believe that, guided by the principles of mutual respect, openness, inclusiveness and win-win cooperation, APEC cooperation will be even closer and its prospect even brighter. In the spirit of the Asia-Pacific partnership, China is ready to work with other APEC members to jointly advance free and open trade and investment in the region. Together, we can make greater contribution to the building of an Asia-Pacific community with a shared future and realize the dream of common development, prosperity and progress in the Asia-Pacific region.