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Global symposium on free trade in Asia-Pacific held in Sanya

By Ma Zhiping in Sanya | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2017-08-16 13:53

A group of more than 40 leading experts on APEC issues from top Chinese and foreign think tanks gathered on August 14 and 15 in Sanya, a coastal city at the southern tip of tropical Hainan province, to discuss and search means to turn the APEC economic leaders' vision and initiative of building the Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific (FTAAP) into viable action plans.

They also held extensive discussions on strengthening the momentum of Asia-Pacific economic integration, exploring new concept and new model that the Asia-Pacific can contribute to the global economic governance.

Sponsored by China National Committee for Pacific Economic Cooperation, the APEC Study Center of Nankai University, Hainan CGE Peace Development Foundation and supported by the Center for China and Globalization, the symposium looked closely at the potential well-being that FTAAP can create for people in the Asia-Pacific and the challenges for its building and the trade-off of interests between various stakeholders inside each negotiating parties.

"Based on the discussions, we are to find a balanced, inclusive and win-win method to meet the challenges and promote FTAAP in a steady way," said Tang Guoqiang, co-chair of the Pacific Economic Cooperation Council.

The participants agreed that the Asia-Pacific is facing an increasingly complex economic situation, with the growth of the emerging economies slowing down and major developed economies fighting with structural problems internally. And thus the regional economic integration and cooperation is destined to be a long and zigzag process.

The experts also agreed that realizing the Bogor Goals by 2020 --the full and complete trade and investment liberalization in Asia-Pacific --- remains the core task of APEC. As a milestone of the APEC history, the Bogor Goals, established in 1994 at an APEC summit in Bogor, Indonesia, have contributed to the sustainable development and equitable growth of the member economies. They said that the various efforts to promote the realization of FTAAP will serve as the core driving force of Asia-Pacific economic integration in the Post-2020 era.

Besides accounting for more than 50 percent of global gross domestic product, the 21-member APEC also makes up nearly half of world trade and 40 percent of the global population.

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