Senior governmental official stresses APEC’s role in open regionalism

Journalists and staff members work at the international media center of APEC 2023 in San Francisco, the United States, on Nov 12, 2023. [Photo/Xinhua]

Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation economies should uphold the principles of open regionalism, avoiding the formation of closed and exclusive “small circles” within the region, said a senior government official.

Addressing the 34th APEC Ministerial Meeting in San Francisco from November 14 to 15, Wang Shouwen, China international trade representative and vice-minister of commerce, said that APEC should actively promote the achievements of the 13th Ministerial Conference (MC13) of the World Trade Organization on resuming the operation of the dispute settlement mechanism, food security, temporary tariff exemption for electronic transmissions and accession of new members.

The meeting focused on discussing topics such as supporting the multilateral trade system, regional economic integration, supply chain cooperation, digital economy, and promoting inclusivity and sustainable trade and investment, the Ministry of Commerce said in an online statement on Thursday.

Wang advocated holding a high-level officials’ meeting again before MC13 to build consensus. With an open attitude, APEC should push for the goals set forth in joint statements and initiatives, such as investment facilitation, and integrate them into a multilateral framework.

He said that APEC should uphold the central role of the Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific (FTAAP). The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement and the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership are the two possible paths for the FTAAP jointly determined by APEC leaders. It is essential to adhere to openness, inclusiveness and continuously advance the expansion process to benefit more economies.

The vice-commerce minister said that development should be prioritized, taking full account of the interests of developing economies. All parties should leverage the roles of green and digital technologies, promote trade in environmentally friendly products including photovoltaics and new energy vehicles, reduce trade barriers and strengthen cooperation on standards in relevant areas.

Wang said China is willing to enhance practical cooperation in the digital economy and green growth with more APEC economies.

As the International Monetary Fund has upwardly revised its growth projection for the Chinese economy in 2023, increasing it from 5 percent to 5.4 percent, he said China will further expand high-level opening-up, share development opportunities of its vast market with APEC economies and the world, and jointly promote high-quality development and prosperity.

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