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APEC's focus should be economic integration

(China Daily) Updated: 2015-11-19 08:04

APEC's focus should be economic integration

The 2015 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Economic Leaders' Week hosted by the Philippines began in Manila on Friday. [Photo/IC] 

China's latest promise to keep its door open for foreign investors is meant to not only clarify confusion about its economic policies but also encourage regional economic integration.

President Xi Jinping made clear at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation CEO summit in Manila on Wednesday that the Chinese government will substantially cut restrictions on market access for foreign investment.

The remark represents a clear-cut answer to recent complaints from some foreign enterprises about the obstacles to market access and the difficulties they face in China.

The ongoing slowdown of the world's second-largest economy, as a result of both domestic economic restructuring and unfavorable external conditions, has definitely added to the challenges confronting foreign companies as they face increasingly fierce competition from Chinese companies.

However, Chinese policymakers will not backpedal on their efforts to foster an open, transparent, fair and highly efficient market environment.

As Xi pointed out, "China's policy on welcoming foreign investment will not change, nor will its protection of the legitimate rights and interests of foreign invested companies, or its commitment to provide better services for them."

While assuring foreign enterprises that China is still a top destination for investment, the Chinese leader's message was also aimed at prompting all the APEC economic leaders to make joint efforts to boost regional growth.

The global economy is beset by uncertainties with growth continuing to fall short of expectations.

If it is to avoid any further slowdown as it braces for the slowest expansion since 2009 this year, the APEC members must work together to find a way to put the Asia-Pacific economy on the right track, as APEC now accounts for more than half of the global economic output and nearly half of world trade.

It is China's belief that accelerating the realization of the Free Trade Agreement of the Asia-Pacific, which would be the world's largest free trade area, and advancing regional economic integration are the urgent tasks that APEC should strive to accomplish, so as to provide a driving force for sustained global growth.

There are certainly anti-terrorism, climate change and other issues that APEC leaders may exchange views and seek common understanding on. But the key mission of APEC remains the promotion of inclusive growth for the region and beyond.

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