Xi urges open regional economy

- Nov 19, 2018-

President vows to speed up efforts, foster new drivers for development

President Xi Jinping called on members of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation to advance regional integration so as to build an open economy in the region.

He also reaffirmed that China will continue to open up by significantly expanding market access, better protecting intellectual property rights, and making the investment and business environments more attractive.

Xi made the remarks in a speech on Sunday delivered at the APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea.

"We have reached a crossroads of history when we must have a keen appreciation of global trends and take the pulse of the world economy," he said.

APEC members should continue to promote trade and investment liberalization, although the road to a Free Trade Area for the Asia-Pacific will not be smooth, Xi said.

The global economic environment is fraught with risks, and uncertainties such as protectionism and unilateralism are resurfacing. This puts the multilateral trading system under assault, the president said.

"We need to firmly uphold the rules-based multilateral trading system and say no to protectionism," he said, noting that efforts should be undertaken to make economic globalization more open, inclusive, balanced and beneficial for all.

As this year marks the 40th anniversary of China's reform and opening-up, Xi said China will pursue continued reforms with resolve across the board.

"We will speed up efforts to improve our socialist market economy and put in place a modern economic system," he said.

The first China International Import Expo, which concluded in Shanghai earlier this month, attracted more than 3,600 companies and over 400,000 Chinese and foreign buyers who sealed $57.8 billion worth of deals.

"This sent one more message about China's strong commitment to free and open trade, and to voluntarily opening its market to the world," Xi said.

The president also called for efforts to pursue innovation-driven growth and foster new growth drivers, improve connectivity to promote inclusive development, forge closer partnerships and jointly meet common challenges.

He said China seeks deeper cooperation in the digital economy sector with other members of the Asia-Pacific region so as to expand convergence of interests and create more growth areas, thus adding strong and fresh impetus to the region's economy.

"The important proposals Xi has raised in his speeches during the APEC meetings conform to the trend of the global economy and the development of global economic governance," said Wang Xiaolong, director-general of the Department of Economic Affairs with the Foreign Ministry.

"They also meet the common aspiration of the international community and peoples in the Asia-Pacific region, and reflect the strategic horizon and guiding role of the leader of a major country," he said.

Zhang Shaogang, director-general of the International Department with the Ministry of Commerce, said at a press briefing that China and most APEC members are jointly sending out a positive signal of supporting free trade, a multilateral trading system and economic globalization.

"This has injected positive impetus for strengthening international cooperation on trade and the economy at a time when the voices of protectionism and unilateralism are rising," he said.

On Sunday, Xi also attended an informal dialogue meeting on the world's economic situation with leaders of APEC economies, during which he listened to the introduction made by International Monetary Fund Managing Director Christine Lagarde.