Asia-Pacific leaders are moving towards a new free trade zone strongly endorsed by Beijing.
In its final communique, the 12-nation Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit agreed to launch a study into the Free Trade Area of the Asia Pacific (FTAAP), which is seen by some as a rival to a US trade pact, BBC News reported. The study will last two years.
Chinese leader Xi Jinping, who has urged Asia-Pacific nations to accelerate economic ties, described the endorsement of the pact as a “historic” decision.
Washington is pushing a separate Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), which is considered a part of its efforts to maintain its influence in the region amid China’s growing power. The TPP involves 12 countries, but not China or Russia.
In an interview with China’s official Xinhua News Agency, however, US President Barack Obama dismissed suggestions that the TPP is a way of countering Chinese influence. He said the US is in no way trying to contain China.
“Currently, the global economic recovery still faces many unstable and uncertain factors,” Xi was quoted as saying.
“Facing the new situation, we should further promote regional economic integration and create a pattern of opening up that is conducive to long-term development.”
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