China an active promoter of multilateralism; boosts APEC development: analyst
Published: Nov 15, 2023 09:59 PM
A view of International Media Center at Moscone Center as APEC Economic Leaders' Week begins in San Francisco, California, US on November 11, 2023. Photo: AFP

A view of International Media Center at Moscone Center as APEC Economic Leaders' Week begins in San Francisco, California, US on November 11, 2023. Photo: AFP

China has played an active role in promoting multilateralism and injecting vitality and momentum into the economic growth of the Asia-Pacific region, Chinese analysts said, as the nation's trade with APEC economies topped $3.74 trillion in 2022.

China's trade with 20 APEC economies accounted for 59.7 percent of China's total foreign trade last year, state broadcaster China Central Television reported on Wednesday, citing data from the Ministry of Commerce.

The 30th APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting is being held this week in San Francisco, the US.

Eight of China's top 10 trading partners are APEC economies, and China is also the largest trading partner of 13 APEC economies, according to the report. Fifteen APEC economies have signed free trade agreements with China.

Moreover, APEC economies are China's important partners for investment and cooperation.

In 2022, foreign direct investment (FDI) from APEC economies utilized by China accounted for 86.6 percent of China's total FDI, while five APEC economies were listed among the top 10 sources of foreign investment, the report said.

In recent years, China has continued to deepen reform, expand opening-up and actively integrate into Asia-Pacific regional cooperation, analysts said. The country strives to promote Asia-Pacific regional economic integration and continues to contribute to the region's prosperity with its wisdom and solutions, they said, noting that China has become an important force in promoting the development of the region.

China has been pushing for the implementation of the 2014 Beijing Roadmap to push forward the Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific process, and progress has been achieved in reducing tariffs and non-tariff barriers, and promoting services and investment.

Dong Shaopeng, a senior research fellow at the Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies at the Renmin University of China, told the Global Times on Wednesday that China has been actively promoting multilateralism with the APEC platform to facilitate trade, lower costs and boost sci-tech innovation and cooperation with the aim of achieving economic complementarity. 

In terms of trade, China has safeguarded multilateralism under the WTO, and opposed trade bullying, containment and crackdowns, Dong said.

In Asia, China has worked to promote trade multilateralism, such as the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, to share the benefits of facilitated trade and common prosperity, Dong said, noting that China has been focused on promoting cooperative mechanisms.

In a sign of China's willingness to promote regional economic trade and cooperation, Chinese Vice Minister of Commerce Wang Shouwen said that China has been engaged in continuous and close contact at all levels with members of the Digital Economy Partnership Agreement and negotiations have achieved progress. China is willing to work with all sides to step up technical consultations, properly handle each other's concerns and further promote pragmatic cooperation on the digital economy, Wang said.

The same effort in promoting cooperation mechanisms can be found in China's efforts to promote the joint building of the Belt and Road Initiative, analysts noted.

Multiple agreements to foster economic cooperation were signed at the third Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation, which was held in October and drew the attendance of 151 countries, 41 international organizations and more than 10,000 delegates.

The APEC is a platform to build consensus, and more concrete economic cooperation still needs multilateral and bilateral coordination, Dong said.

APEC economies account for 73.3 percent of all China's outbound investment, with five APEC economies among the top 10 overseas destinations for Chinese outbound investment.

Global Times