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People's Daily Online

Xi outlines expected progress

People's Daily Online

By Chen Yang and Bai Tiantian (Global Times) 07:57, November 11, 2014

Initiatives will strengthen 'connectivity' among members

Chinese President Xi Jinping has said the launch of the Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific (FTAAP) process and boosting regional connectivity are among the expected achievements of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meetings being held in Beijing this year.

Speaking at the dialogue between APEC leaders and representatives of the APEC Business Advisory Council on Monday, Xi said China is a beneficiary of regional cooperation and is also an active advocate of cooperation.

Launching the FTAAP process will point the way for Asia-Pacific cooperation, Xi said. He added that the FTAAP will not compete with existing free trade arrangements, which are the potential pathways for realizing the FTAAP's goals.

The FTAAP can be the 'aggregation' of existing free trade arrangements, and the aim of pushing forward the FTAAP process is to consolidate regional integration and define long-term goals, Xi noted.

While there is competition between the US and China over trade rules in the Asia-Pacific, the FTAAP does not conflict with the US-led Trans-Pacific Partnership, He Weiwen, an executive council member of the China Society for WTO Studies, told the Global Times.

The expert added the China-initiated trade arrangement aims to seek the 'greatest common denominator' among more than 50 bilateral or multilateral FTAs in the Asia-Pacific region.

Laying a solid foundation for regional Asia-Pacific connectivity was also high on the APEC agenda.

China's proposal to strengthen connectivity is tied to its periphery diplomacy. The country can provide the world with public goods such as the Silk Road Fund or the Asian Infrastructure and Investment Bank, Chen Fengying, a research fellow with the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations, told the Global Times.

President Xi also said that issuing a statement to mark the 25th anniversary of APEC as well as promoting innovation, reforms and growth to seek new momentum for long-term development in the Asia-Pacific region would be important outcomes for the meetings.

As host, China is promoting the adoption of more than 50 proposals which will benefit long-term regional development, Zhang Lijun, chairman of the China APEC Development Council, told the Global Times.

On Monday night, President Xi and his wife Peng Liyuan, both dressed in traditional Chinese garb, hosted a welcome banquet at the National Swimming Center in northern Beijing, known colloquially as the Water Cube, for leaders and their spouses from the 21-member APEC.

Most leaders were chauffeured to the banquet in sedans made by Hongqi, a Chinese brand.

They were greeted by performers dressed in ethnic minority costumes lined up on both sides of the road.

Xi and Peng were seen shaking hands with the guests and taking pictures.

As has become tradition at an APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting, a group photograph was taken with the leaders wearing traditional dress from the host nation.

A performance featuring Chinese culture and a firework show were arranged after the banquet.

Xinhua contributed to this story

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