Free trade created quite a stir

Updated: 2014-11-12 17:57

By Zhang Yunbi (

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A frenzy ensued as media awaited word on fate of plan

Joining in a fierce and chaotic competition for a printed copy of the APEC outcome documents was the last thing I would have expected while sitting in the media section on Tuesday afternoon, waiting for President Xi Jinping's news conference.

Earlier in the day, thousands of reporters from around the globe had descended upon the Yanqi Lake resort, the venue of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Economic Leaders' Meeting.

They were there to learn about the major initiatives that the 21 member economies would agree upon later in the day.

Among the initiatives given final approval at the regional event hosted by China, the proposal for initiating the process of the Free Trade Agreement of the Asia-Pacific seems to have attracted the most media attention in recent months.

Previous reports showed doubts about and even opposition to FTAAP, with some officials and critics saying that the initiative highly overlaps the geographic realm of the US-led talks on the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement.

However, the closed-door part of the day's sessions fueled the curiosity of journalists at the media center and increased their thirst for information about the fate of the free trade proposal.

Just a few minutes ahead of the Chinese president's arrival, I heard a burst of activity from the crowd of journalists behind me. I looked back to see dozens of reporters trying to grab from a small number of handouts being distributed by event staff about the outcome of the leaders' meetings.

The copies ran out in just a few seconds. Then another staff member came in with more copies printed in either Chinese or English.

I thrust in ahead of the crowd and grabbed three copies. Luckily, I came up with copies in both languages, crucial to meeting the bilingual reporting demands of China Daily.

Many of the reporters went into a frenzy, begging their counterparts for copies and taking photos with cellphones until President Xi came in.

As the Chinese leader elaborated on the final consensus that will shape the region's integration and economic growth, the flurry of activity was renewed — but this time because the reporters were busily typing or taking notes during Xi's 15 minute address.

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