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People’s Daily: APEC members should unswervingly promote free trade

(People's Daily Online)

15:04, September 11, 2012

Greater trade and investment liberalization and deeper regional economic integration are conducive to the stable development of the Asia-Pacific region. All members of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) should view regional development in a more open and far-sighted manner, and prevent trade protectionism from nibbling the fruits of regional development away.

Leaders of the 21 APEC members gathered in Vladivostok, Russia on Sept. 8 and 9 to discuss regional trade and economic development.

We live in a world created by trade, and the degree of trade liberalization directly determines the development of a country, a region, or even the entire world economy. Free and open trade and investment is a major engine of economic growth. It is important to strengthen international trade and investment cooperation because it will greatly boost employment and economic growth, and promote sustainable recovery of the world economy.

Trade and investment liberalization as well as regional economic integration are the core agendas and fundamental objectives of the APEC. The two objectives complement each other, with the former being the foundation for the latter. Trade and investment liberalization and facilitation is the driving force behind the economic growth of the Asia-Pacific region.

The Asia-Pacific region has been more active in trade and investment than any other part of the world since the early 1990s. At present, APEC members’ trade volume and direct investment each account for about 60 percent of the world’s total. The APEC has played an irreplaceable role in deepening regional economic integration and promoting trade and investment liberalization and facilitation since its founding more than 20 years ago. One of the major goals of this year’s APEC summit is to bring into full play the organization’s role as an “incubator” which will further promote regional trade and investment liberalization and facilitation.

The Asia-Pacific economy maintains growth momentum but faces downward pressure due to the stubbornly weak global economic recovery and deteriorating European debt crisis. The Doha Round talks of the World Trade Organization have long been stalled, indicating considerable difficulties facing the multilateral trading system and the rise in protectionism worldwide. It requires great strength and courage to continue promoting trade and investment liberalization and facilitation under such complex circumstances.

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