Chinese commerce minister Gao Hucheng called on Asia-Pacific economies to speed up regional economic integration, as the meeting of Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) trade ministers kicked off in east China's port city of Qingdao.
Addressing the opening of the meeting, which brought together trade ministers from the 21 APEC member economies, Gao said although global economic recovery is picking up momentum, there are still many instabilities and uncertainties.
He said APEC members need to firmly support a multilateral trading system and accelerate the Asia-Pacific economic integration process through the realization of a Free Trade Area of Asia-Pacific (FTAAP).
According to Gao, the two-day meeting will also focus on regional economic and technical cooperation, innovative development, reform and economic growth, as well as connectivity and infrastructure development.
The ministerial meeting is expected to make preparations for the Economic Leader's Meeting in November in Beijing.
Established in 1989, APEC has played an important role in driving global and regional economic growth. Its 21 members contribute approximately 57 percent of the world's GDP and 46 percent of world trade.
(Xinhua News Agency May 17, 2014)