Latest News:  
Beijing   Sunny/Overcast    25 / 14   City Forecast

People's Daily Online>>Opinion

Asia-Pacific countries should promote free trade pragmatically

By Qin Hong (People's Daily Overseas Edition)

14:14, April 06, 2012

Edited and translated by People's Daily Online

The Asia-Pacific economy has become the most dynamic in the world along with the eastward shift of the global economy's center of gravity. Various bilateral or multilateral free trade agreements have sprung up in the region, of which, the most popular one is the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), also known as the Trans-Pacific Strategic Economic Partnership Agreement.

Free trade areas (FTAs) can bring different countries' comparative advantages into play, promote competition, and improve efficiency, and are in line with the general trend of the times. However, as Asia-Pacific countries have different development levels, goals, and cultural backgrounds, trade and economic integration in the region must be promoted in a pragmatic and realistic manner.

First, practical rules are needed to ensure the smooth development of FTAs.

Second, the economic security of countries participating in free trade should be ensured.

Third, international economic conditions should be taken into consideration. The global economy is going through a difficult adjustment period, and most countries are paying greater attention to domestic demand and enhancing protectionist measures. In addition, they have less leeway, and are unlikely to make major compromises.

Fourth, participants, especially key participants, should be sincere. FTAs should be established on the basis of mutual benefit. China showed great sincerity in carrying out the Early Harvest Program with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), which is partly why the ASEAN agreed to build a FTA with China.

By contrast, the United States showed little sincerity in TPP negotiations. After joining the TPP, the United States has completely revised the regional bloc's rules for its own benefit, implemented economic unilateralism, and deliberately alienated China which has played a crucial role in promoting free trade in the Asia-Pacific region. It is reasonable that certain TPP member states want China to join the group to counterbalance the United States.

Under such a context, it is understandable that the nine TPP countries failed to complete their negotiations before the APECT summit in Hawaii last year. Given the results of the 11th round of the TPP negotiations in early March, the nine countries are unlikely to complete their negotiations this year.

Furthermore, Asia-Pacific countries should learn from the European Union's mistake in understanding the regional political environment. The European Union approved the accession of unqualified Greece in the early 1980s, which ensured the bloc's security in southern Europe but planted a seed for the ongoing European sovereign debt crisis. It would be a different story if certain countries use joining the TPP talks as a tool to elevate their status and seek benefits from different parties.

Read the Chinese version at


Leave your comment2 comments

  1. Name

allen snyder at 2012-04-0892.15.8.*
This is very good idea and it should have happened long ago.
Todd at 2012-04-06108.37.19.*
Free trade is just that. Free. Not fair. Practice mercantilism. Produce what you can domestically and import only what you can"t.

Selections for you

  1. Preschool in Guangxi's small village

  2. 2012 Vancouver Int'l Auto Show

  3. Seagulls attracted to residential community

  4. DPRK prepares for launching Kwangmyongsong-3 satellite

Most Popular


  1. Asia-Pacific countries should promote free trade
  2. Anelka cannot save Chinese football
  3. Quick stop to good progress in N.Korea
  4. EU urged to do Chinese companies justice
  5. A hard-earned, favorable turn for Syria issue
  6. BRICS mulls joint bank
  7. How far away are we from nuclear terrorism?
  8. Benefits, not values, define BRICS unity
  9. China slams Japan's move over Diaoyu Islands
  10. More efforts needed for enhancing nuclear security

What's happening in China

Father defends girl's stunt with wolves

  1. China inflation shoots up 3.8 pct in Q1
  2. City aims to pull food safety out of the gutter
  3. China PPI down 0.3 pct in March
  4. Out-of-town cabbie scheme halted
  5. Restaurant ordered to move out of Beijing temple

PD Online Data

  1. Spring Festival
  2. Chinese ethnic odyssey
  3. Yangge in Shaanxi
  4. Gaoqiao in Northern China
  5. The drum dance in Ansai