APEC 2018: China's roles and expectations

By Rachana Gupta
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail China.org.cn, November 14, 2018
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An aerial view of Leaders' Conference Centre, the APEC Haus, in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea, on Nov. 11, 2018. [Photo/Xinhua]

The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) diplomatic summit is scheduled to be held in Papua New Guinea from November 12-18 this year. This is the first time Papua New Guinea is hosting the APEC meeting. 

During the event, leaders from APEC economies will gather in Port Moresby to evaluate APEC's work during 2018, assess the status of global trade and the related challenges as well as set future goals. 

Notably, APEC is the most significant inter-governmental economic forum for the 21 Pacific Rim member economies that aims to foster sustainable and balanced growth as well as facilitate regional integration through broader participation. It accounts for nearly 50 percent of the world's trade and covers almost 40 percent of the world's population. APEC was formed in 1989 as a result of growing interdependence of the Asia-pacific economies and the mushrooming regional trade blocks. It's key goal is to foster wider economic cooperation and promote more prosperity in the region.

China had played a significant role in APEC since it joined the group in 1991. As a member, China has advocated the liberalization of trade and investment, urged APEC to safeguard the interests of member countries, and fostered the effective implementation of multilateral trading systems within its framework. China hosted the APEC leaders' summits twice in 2001 and 2014 in Shanghai and Beijing respectively. In 2001, APEC adopted the Shanghai accord and the e-APEC strategy. Also, the first counter-terrorism statement was issued to enhance counter-terrorism cooperation in the wake of the terrorist attack on the U.S. on September 11, 2001.

In 2014, Beijing hosted the Summit themed "Shaping the future through Asia-Pacific Partnership" which concluded with the adoption of the 22nd APEC economic leaders' declaration. The Beijing agenda included an integrated, innovative and inter-connected Asia-Pacific in a statement that was issued on the 25th anniversary of APEC. APEC members also demonstrated a strong commitment towards an eventual Free-Trade Area of the Asia Pacific (FTAAP). They agreed to start a joint strategic study on the FTAAP to transform this vision into a reality. 

In addition to financial and economic cooperation, APEC member countries have also jointly worked on wider issues such as climate change, anti-terrorism, health, communication, and culture. Following this summit, China and the U.S. released a joint statement in Beijing on their ambitious plan to tackle climate change. China vowed to increase the share of non-fossil fuels in primary energy consumption to around 20 percent by 2030, while the U.S. pledged to reduce its carbon emissions by 26 percent to 28 percent below their 2005 levels by the year 2025. 

As a premier forum for regional integration in Asia-Pacific, APEC provides an opportunity to its members for shared prosperity through regional integration and increased economic activity. This year, however, APEC will be held at a crucial juncture when the world economy is being impacted by unfavorable external market conditions, growing concern over the impact of globalization, trade protectionism and friction which are undermining some industries as well as consumer and investor confidence. 

China's attendance in the upcoming summit has generated huge interest among global media towards the summit given that China is expected to maintain a strong position against the U.S. bilateral approach. Hence, it is expected that China will send a strong message against trade protectionism, support the liberalization of trade and investment, and facilitate the effective implementation of multilateral trading systems. 

Rachana Gupta is a China Focus columnist, an expert author of Ezine Articles and an active blogger and poetry writer.

Opinion articles reflect the views of their authors only, not necessarily those of China.org.cn.

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