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China says trade rules should based on equal negotiation

Xinhua | Updated: 2016-11-19 11:21

BEIJING - China has ruled out seeking a leading role in regional trade arrangements and said that trade rules should be based on equal negotiation.

"China does not seek a leading role in the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) and the Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific (FTAAP)," said Foreign Ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang at a press conference Friday.

Geng made the remarks while commenting on reports speculating regional countries would turn to the RCEP, and that China may write the trade rules in Asia-Pacific region, as the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) led by the Unites States faces uncertainty.

The RCEP has ASEAN taking a leading role, while the FTAAP is a proposal of regional economic integration under APEC, Geng said.

China has been cooperating with all sides to push forward the RCEP on the basis of respecting ASEAN's core role, he added.

During the APEC summit held in Beijing 2014, APEC members agreed to start a joint strategic study of the FTAAP, marking the official launch of the region-wide free trade area process.

"We hope to decide the next step with all relevant sides during the APEC summit in Peru to achieve more progress in building up the Asia-Pacific free trade zone," he said.

China has always held an open attitude towards arrangements conducive to liberating and facilitating regional trade and investment, and the region's common development and prosperity, Geng said. He added that China also believes that trade arrangements should be in accordance with World Trade Organization rules, and that they are helpful to the multilateral trade system.

"Trade arrangements should seek to work with, not against, each other," he said, adding that all sides should prevent trade arrangements in the Asia-Pacific region from becoming fragmented or politicized.

Trade rules should be settled through equal negotiation by every side, not one or two countries, and take into consideration the differences of all members' development stages, especially developing economies, Geng said.

He stressed that trade rules should be reciprocal and in the interests of all sides.

Geng added that China would join all sides to continue to work on regional economic integration, while considering countries' different economic development, in a spirit of openness, inclusiveness and transparency, to inject new impetus into the Asia-Pacific region and the world economy.

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