Tools: Save | Print | E-mail | Most Read
Nation Consolidates Ties Through APEC
Adjust font size:

By Ruan Zongze

The 14th Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation (APEC) Leaders' Informal Meeting is scheduled to be held in the Vietnamese capital Hanoi from today through Sunday, in the context of the Doha Round of trade negotiations breaking down. As a result, efforts made by APEC members at the conference to strengthen regional co-operation will draw much attention from the world.

Chinese President Hu Jintao is expected to put forward suggestions on deepening regional co-operation and offer the Chinese Government's views on the key tasks of APEC and the prospects ahead.

The APEC informal meeting is gaining increasing importance as the venue where the leaders of its members talk about major issues that have great influence on regional and global development.

APEC has 21 members from Asia, the South Pacific, Latin America and North America, including the United States, the biggest economy in the world, and China, the largest developing country. The organization claims 45 percent of the world's population, 60 percent of global GNP (gross national product) and 46 percent of the world's total trade volume.

More than three-quarters of China's foreign trade is conducted with APEC members. And more than 80 percent of foreign direct investment flowing into the country is from the Asia-Pacific region. Ever since the organization was founded in 1989, China has been actively involved in all APEC undertakings, following the principles of enhancing political mutual trust and expanding co-operation that benefits all parties.

It is through APEC that the country's connections with other members, which are based on effective mechanisms, have been consolidated.

On the other hand, China, thanks to its fast growing economy, provides APEC members with large quantities of commodities as well as a vast market with huge potential. In this sense, the Chinese economy has become another locomotive powering the economic development in the Asia-Pacific region.

Since the mechanisms of the APEC leaders' informal meeting were introduced in 1993, the Chinese president has delivered important speeches at the yearly meeting, expounding on the primary policies and important principles the country follows. At the economic and business sessions of the upcoming APEC leaders' informal meeting, President Hu will introduce to the participating heads of state China's scientific development outlook and make it clear that China's growth will bring new opportunities for global and regional development.

During the informal meeting, President Hu is scheduled to meet with US President George W. Bush and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

This will be the first meeting between the Chinese and US presidents in the wake of the US mid-term election, which has largely altered the domestic political landscape of the United States. Stability and continuous development of Sino-US ties are going to be important subjects of the presidential talks.

At the meeting with Shinzo Abe, President Hu, on the basis of Abe's China visit shortly after he was sworn in, in September, will exchange views with the Japanese prime minister on China-Japan relations and other issues both sides are concerned with.

The first APEC ministerial meeting was convened on November 6-7, 1989 in Canberra, Australia, marking the formal founding of APEC, against the backdrop that the world economy was becoming increasingly globalized, trade and investment more and more liberalized and the trend of regional co-operation starting to form as the Cold War was winding to an end.

The Seoul declaration adopted by the third APEC ministerial meeting in 1991 stated that the goal and principle of the organization is mutual reliance, common interests, an open multilateral trade system and reduction of regional trade barriers.

More recently, energy co-operation has become a hot topic at the APEC conferences, following liberalization of trade and investment.

The Doha Round of trade negotiations was launched by the World Trade Organization's fourth ministerial meeting in November 2001 in Doha, capital of Qatar. The World Bank estimated that 140 million more people would have shaken off poverty by 2015 on condition that the Doha Round of trade talks ended in success. The APEC leaders' informal meeting in Busan last year planned to issue a declaration and a Doha Round Agenda special statement to push for the success of the Doha Round talks, but they failed due to gaping disputes over agriculture.

This aroused people's concerns over, and interest in, the prospects of regional co-operation in the Asia-Pacific region. Bringing about an Asia-Pacific free trade zone has, therefore, found its way onto the APEC agenda. The undertaking is worth trying, despite numerous possible stumbling blocks on the way towards the ultimate goal.

China hopes that APEC members do their best to see that the stranded Doha Round is restarted and its objectives fulfilled. APEC members should also push for further liberalization of trade and investment and deepening of economic and technological co-operation. At the same time, APEC members should co-operate to cope with high oil prices, prevention of epidemic diseases and fighting natural disasters. Finally, all APEC members ought to help promote the reform of APEC itself and make sure that APEC's influence on the world's regional co-operation is maintained.

It should, however, be noted that the APEC agenda is being stretched to cover political and security issues such as the anti-terror campaign, which are irrelevant to APEC's original primary goals: Economic co-operation and liberalization of trade and investment. This has watered down the central goals of the organization.

People worry that APEC could deviate from its original objectives. Against the backdrop of the Doha Round of trade talks collapsing, APEC members should be clear that discussions on political and security matters should not water down the organization's economic character or alter it altogether.

The author is deputy director of the China Institute of International Studies.
(China Daily November 17, 2006)

Tools: Save | Print | E-mail | Most Read

Related Stories
China Pledges More Trade and Investment Liberalization
APEC Ministers Emphasize Economic, Technical Cooperation
China, Vietnam Agree to Further Promote Ties
FM: China, Japan Should Properly Handle Sensitive Issues
APEC Leaders to Talk Trade, Security
Hu to Meet Abe, Bush During APEC Meeting

Product Directory
China Search
Country Search
Hot Buys
SiteMap | About Us | RSS | Newsletter | Feedback
Copyright © All Rights Reserved     E-mail: Tel: 86-10-88828000 京ICP证 040089号