Experts: China, US to focus on regional integration at forum

Updated: 2011-11-08 08:02

By Tan Yingzi (China Daily)

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WASHINGTON - China and the United States will both make efforts to promote regional integration and green growth at this week's annual Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum in Honolulu, Hawaii, trade experts said.

But the world's two largest economies differ in their approaches toward achieving regional integration.

The host country will try to achieve progress at the Hawaii meeting in establishing the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), while China hopes that the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)+3 (China, Japan and South Korea) can take a leading role.

The TPP is being negotiated by the US, Australia, Brunei, Chile, Malaysia, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam.

APEC, established in 1989, is a forum for 21 Pacific Rim economies to cooperate on regional trade and investment issues.

The Hawaii meeting is the first time the US has hosted an APEC forum since the meeting on Blake Island, Washington State, in 1993.

"This APEC is going to be on TPP," said Douglas Paal, vice-president for studies at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

"The administration is running fast now to produce proposals that are meant to be very high standard. It will be the theme of America's presentations as a host of APEC."

To boost the sluggish US economy, the Obama administration has shifted its focus to the Asia-Pacific region, which will help create huge opportunities to increase US exports and jobs.

US Trade Representative Ron Kirk recently talked about three priority areas in which Washington hopes to achieve "concrete and meaningful outcomes" at the APEC: promoting green growth; strengthening regional economic integration and expanding trade; and advancing regulatory cooperation and convergence.

At the same time, he said as the APEC host, the US is seeking "solid" progress on the TPP in Honolulu.

"The American economy needs TPP for its job- and growth-generating potential; the American economy needs TPP to help it embrace the world's most dynamic region; and we need TPP to inject new important ideas into global trade policy," he said in a recent speech at the US Chamber of Commerce.

"Both APEC and TPP hold the promise of removing trade barriers and unlocking opportunities for US exporters selling 'Made in America' products across the Asia-Pacific."

Wang Yuzhu, from the Institute of Asia-Pacific Studies at Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, cautioned that Beijing is still not sure about how the TPP will affect regional economic performance and China prefers the ASEAN+3 to lead regional integration.

"Economic regionalism is China's most pragmatic choice, because the international architecture is changing rapidly. China has to recalibrate its relations with the rest of the world," said Wang.

China Daily

(China Daily 11/08/2011 page11)