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Free trade to get boost at APEC

By AN BAIJIE | China Daily | Updated: 2017-11-04 06:01

Xi to attend events as China sends positive signals on open economies

China will send positive signals of supporting free trade and facilitating investment to inject positive energy into open economies during the APEC events to be attended by President Xi Jinping next week, senior officials said on Friday.

Xi will travel to Da Nang, Vietnam, for the 25th APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting on Nov 10 and 11, Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang announced on Friday. Xi will also make state visits to Vietnam and Laos from November 12 to 14.

It will be Xi's first overseas trip since being re-elected last week as general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee.

Xi's participation at the APEC events will show that China pays great attention to economic cooperation in the Asia-Pacific region, said Li Baodong, vice-foreign minister.

Xi will deliver a key speech while attending the APEC CEO Summit. He will also attend many other events, including the dialogue between the APEC Business Advisory Council and APEC Economic Leaders, and the APEC-ASEAN Informal Dialogue. Xi will also hold bilateral talks with some leaders of the APEC economies, Li told a news conference on Friday.

Noting that there remain many uncertainties in global economic growth, Li said the Asia-Pacific economy is the biggest and most dynamic in the world, and the region's trade volume accounts for nearly half of global trade.

China calls on the APEC economies to make joint efforts to maintain openness, support a multilateral trade system and facilitate trade and investment, Li said, adding that the building of an Asia-Pacific free trade zone should be pushed forward.

The theme for APEC 2017 is "creating new dynamism, fostering a shared future".

Wang Shouwen, vice-minister of commerce, said the APEC leaders will discuss such issues as inclusive economic growth, regional economic integration, innovation of small and medium-sized enterprises and food safety.

Chen Xiaodong, assistant foreign minister, said the state visits to Vietnam and Laos will be of great importance, since they mark the start of neighboring diplomacy with Chinese characteristics for a new era.

Noting that both Vietnam and Laos are socialist countries, Chen said China will work with them to build a community of shared future for neighbors.

In January, Nguyen Phu Trong, general secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Vietnam, visited China. In May, Vietnamese President Tran Dai Quang visited China and attended the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation in Beijing.

The frequent high-level exchanges between China and Vietnam show that leaders of both countries attach great importance to the development of bilateral ties, Chen said, adding that the two countries plan to sign documents in such areas as building Belt and Road projects, capacity production cooperation and cultural exchanges.

Xi's visit to Laos will be the first visit in 11 years by a Chinese head of state to the neighbor, and he will attend a ceremony to lay the cornerstone for a China-assisted project, Chen said.

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