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China renews call for building FTAAP as economic globalization falters

Xinhua | Updated: 2016-11-20 07:56

LIMA -- China on Saturday renewed its call for pushing forward the building of a Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific (FTAAP), as protectionism has dented global trade and economic globalization.

The FTAAP "is a strategic initiative critical for the long-term prosperity of the Asia-Pacific," Chinese President Xi Jinping said while delivering a keynote speech at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) CEO Summit in Lima, Peru's capital.

"We should firmly pursue the FTAAP as an institutional mechanism for ensuring an open economy in the Asia-Pacific," he told global business leaders.

The FTAAP process was launched at the 2014 APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting in Beijing with the endorsement of a roadmap. A "collective strategic study" was conducted subsequently, as agreed by the APEC members, and the result should be reported to the economic leaders by the end of 2016.

Xi arrived in Peru on Friday to attend the annual APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting, scheduled for Nov. 19-20 in Lima, and pay his first state visit to the Latin American country.

This year's meeting comes against the backdrop of a sluggish global recovery, lack of growth momentum, backlash against economic globalization, weak trade and investment, and growing global challenges that cloud the global economic outlook.

"The Asia-Pacific is under similar pressure and is grappling with such challenges as the fragmentation of regional economic cooperation," Xi said.

In his speech, Xi called on the 21 APEC member economies to promote an open and integrated economy, enhance connectivity to achieve interconnected development, boost reform and innovation to create more internal driving force, and promote win-win cooperation to forge strong partnership.

"For any regional trade arrangement to gain broad support, it must be open, inclusive and beneficial to all," he said, adding that "closed and exclusive arrangement is not the right choice."

The president said that the APEC members must energize trade and investment to drive growth, make free trade arrangements more open and inclusive, and uphold the multilateral trading regime.

Acknowledging that economic globalization is a "double-edged sword" with skepticism these days, the leader of the world's second largest economy said he nonetheless believes that economic globalization is in keeping with the law of economics and delivers benefits to all.

"We need to actively guide globalization, promote equity and justice, and make globalization more resilient, inclusive and sustainable, so that people will get a fair share of its benefits and will see that they have a stake in it," he said.

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