Quake Shocks Sichuan
Nation demonstrates progress in dealing with severe disaster
Current Issue
· Table of Contents
· Editor's Desk
· Previous Issues
· Subscribe to Mag
Subscribe Now >>
Expert's View
Market Watch
North American Report
Government Documents
Expat's Eye
Photo Gallery
Reader's Service
Learning with
'Beijing Review'
E-mail us
RSS Feeds
PDF Edition
Reader's Letters
Make Beijing Review your homepage
Hot Links

cheap eyeglasses
Market Avenue

Print Edition> Business
UPDATED: November 23, 2009 NO. 47 NOVEMBER 26, 2009
The Appeal for Trade Liberalization
China takes advantage of APEC summit to encourage action against trade protectionism

Since the outbreak of the financial crisis last year, top Chinese leaders have been consistent in their appeals for trade and investment liberalization and facilitation. At the CEO Summit of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), held in Singapore, on November 13, Chinese President Hu Jintao delivered an important speech on promoting the world economic growth.

"The international community should promote trade and investment liberalization and facilitation with strong determination and consideration for the long-term development of the world economy," Hu said.

Only through these trade and investment measures can the world economic recovery and growth be achieved, Hu said.

"The international financial crisis has given rise to trade and investment protectionism in various forms. Protectionism will not help any country move out of the crisis," Hu said. "It can only pose a threat to the fragile momentum of the current economic recovery."

The liberalization and facilitation of trade and investment must continue to be promoted, while assuming a strong stance against protectionism, particularly "unreasonable trade and investment restrictions imposed on developing countries," Hu said.

China, as the world's biggest developing country, has suffered heavily from trade protectionism, which has been on the rise since the outbreak of the global financial crisis and prompted China to make the call for trade liberalization. The address by President Hu emphasized China's position on supporting further trade and investment liberalization measures.

In response to the sweeping financial crisis, China adopted a stimulus package and relevant policy procedures that have been conducive to the overall world economic recovery. At the same time, China has fallen victim to mounting trade frictions. According to the Ministry of Commerce, 99 probes into Chinese products were launched in the first 10 months of this year, involving $12.6 billion in exported goods.

Trade protectionism will impede the recovery of the world economy and harm regional cooperation, said Chinese Minister of Commerce Chen Deming at the 21st APEC Ministerial Meeting in Singapore on November 12.

This year marked the 20th anniversary of the APEC. According to Chen, based on the fundamental principles of voluntarism and consensus building, the APEC has played an important role in pushing for the world economic recovery.

The APEC's 21 member economies represent approximately 54 percent of world GDP and 44 percent of world trade. To date, 10 APEC economies have realized positive economic growth against the global financial crisis. With the economic recovery doing better than expected, the Asia-Pacific region is likely to become a major driving force in the full recovery of the world economy.

Over the course of APEC's history, China has cooperated with other APEC economies based on mutual benefit and seen substantial progress made, Chen said.

In 2008, China's trade with other APEC economies accounted for 64 percent of China's total, and out of China's 10 biggest trade partners, eight are from APEC member economies. The APEC economies are also the most important two-way investment partners of China.

Trade protectionism is not an economic strategy limited to Western nations' use—it also prevails in APEC economies. According to the Ministry of Commerce, 75 percent of the probes into Chinese products in the first 10 months this year were launched by APEC economies.

The reason for the high percentage of probes surrounds APEC itself—members have not reached a solid agreement on promoting trade liberalization. The Bogor Goals, named after the city in Indonesia where they were declared in 1994, specify APEC objectives for eliminating developed members' trade and investment barriers by 2010 and those of developing members by 2020. The first phase of the goal is slated to go into effect next year. Whether it will be achieved or not still remains a question.

Encouragingly, leaders of the APEC economies began discussions at the APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting in a retreat session focusing on trade issues.

The theme of free trade resonated strongly among the APEC leaders, as they agreed that apart from traditional trade and investment liberalization issues, the APEC also needed to focus on new areas, like regulatory reform and connectivity, and take a more practical approach to connecting their markets.

Some leaders suggested enhancing regional connectivity by improving cross-border transportation links of all forms. Others highlighted the need to focus more on structural reforms to raise productivity and enhance the region's economic competitiveness.

They noted that the recent initiative to cut business costs in the APEC region by 25 percent by 2015 was a timely and important goal.

In a robust defense of free trade, the APEC leaders also reiterated their commitment to reject all forms of protectionism. Focusing on trade issues, the leaders resolved to inject a strong political push to conclude the Doha Round of the WTO negotiations by the end of 2010.

APEC Charts a New Growth Paradigm

In preparation of the shifting economic outlook, APEC leaders have endorsed on November 15 in Singapore the goals of the G20 Framework for strong, sustainable and balanced growth to "ensure a durable recovery that will create jobs and benefit our people." Balanced growth Strong and sustained economic growth will require structural reforms to gradually unwind global imbalances and raise the potential output of APEC economies. Fiscal monetary, trade and structural polices must be ensured to be consistent with a more sustainable and balanced trajectory of growth. Inclusive growth To achieve inclusive growth, access to economic opportunities must be broadened while building resilience against further economic shocks. APEC economies will also prioritize the design of social safety nets that provide short-term support but avoid long-term dependency. Sustainable growth Future growth must be compatible with global efforts to mitigate climate change. At the same time, efforts to address climate change must be consistent with keeping trade and investment free and open. Connected Asia-Pacific A primary goal for 2015 will be to achieve a collective 25 percent reduction in the cost, time, and number of procedures that businesses face when commencing operations, getting credit, enforcing contracts, dealing with permits, and trading across borders.

(Source: www.apec.org)

Top Story
-Too Much Money?
-Special Coverage: Economic Shift Underway
-Quake Shocks Sichuan
-Special Coverage: 7.0-Magnitude Earthquake Hits Sichuan
-A New Crop of Farmers
Most Popular
About BEIJINGREVIEW | About beijingreview.com | Rss Feeds | Contact us | Advertising | Subscribe & Service | Make Beijing Review your homepage
Copyright Beijing Review All right reserved