Win-win cooperation and free trade bring prosperity to Asia-Pacific region

By Zhu Junqing Source:Global Times Published: 2014-11-11 19:48:01

Innovative development, economic reform and regional integration provide new driving forces for economic growth of the Asia-Pacific region and the broader world, given the tepid recovery in some developed economies and slowdown in some emerging ones.

The Asia-Pacific, compared with other regions, has enjoyed robust economic growth, serving as an anchor of world stability and a foundation of global prosperity.

But it still faces challenges, with many emerging economies in the region hitting a development bottleneck.

The Economic Trends Analysis report issued on November 6 by the APEC Policy Support Unit said that the GDP of all the APEC economies grew only 3.9 percent in the first half of this year, down from the 4.3 percent in the second half of 2013.

The intra-regional trade growth in the first half of 2014 plunged sharply from two digits four years ago to a dismal 1.2 percent today.

It is imperative to adopt innovative thinking and action and conduct pragmatic reforms to find new pillars for high-quality growth.

World Bank Managing Director Sri Mulyani Indrawati has said both emerging and developed economies need to deepen and accelerate domestic reforms at present, "as you cannot depend on macroeconomic policies as stimulus for your growth."

China, a pioneer on this front, has started restructuring its economy and adjusting the growth model from an investment-relied economy to one supported by consumption and higher productivity.

China has also put forth a series of major cooperation initiatives, such as the Silk Road economic belt and the 21st century Maritime Silk Road, for interconnected development.

A lack of new economic growth has left many Asia-Pacific economies pinning high expectation on connectivity, said Tang Guoqiang, chairman of the China National Committee for Pacific Economic Cooperation Council.

It is more encouraging that ministers of APEC members on Saturday reached consensus on the Beijing Roadmap to push forward the Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific (FTAAP) process.

When established, the FTAAP, the largest free trade area in the world, can unleash much greater economic vigor than other regional trade arrangements.

When it is completed, it will add an estimated $2.4 trillion of output to the entire global economy.

The recent APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting in Beijing comes as the region now stands "at a crossroads."

"The development prospects of our region hinges on the decisions and actions we take today," Chinese President Xi Jinping noted.

As the priorities of the APEC meeting in Beijing, the initiatives of innovation, reform and interconnected development can help the region and the broader world sail through the rough economic ride.

The author is a writer with the Xinhua News Agency.

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