Chinese president attends APEC meeting in Hawaii

Chinese President Hu Jintao and leaders of other Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) members met in Honolulu, Hawaii, Sunday to find ways to speed up regional economic integration, free trade and investment, and economic and technological cooperation.

The annual meeting, hosted by U.S. President Barack Obama in his home state, is being convened at the JW Marriott Ihilani, Honolulu, to boost regional economic integration, trade, green growth, job creation in green industries, energy security, and regulatory cooperation.

President Hu is expected to speak at the meeting. He will introduce China’s stand on the topics and call for “improving global economic governance, shifting the growth methods, promoting economic globalization and regional economic integration,” according to Chinese diplomats.

Hu will join other APEC leaders in meeting with the APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC), which presents recommendations to APEC leaders in an annual dialogue and advises APEC officials on business sector priorities and concerns.

During this year’s dialogue, APEC leaders are expected to discuss regional economic integrity, the development of small- and medium-sized enterprises, food security and other issues with ABAC representatives.

This year’s APEC meeting convenes at a time when the global economic recovery is fraught with instability and uncertainty, and encounters growing risks and challenges.

Some major economies are experiencing an economic slowdown, while in the eurozone, sovereign debt risks are rising in some countries. High inflationary pressure is a problem in emerging economies, including some in the Asia-Pacific region. Protectionism in various forms is mounting.

In face of the challenges, the APEC leaders will look for effective measures to stimulate the global economy, regional economic integration, free trade and investment, and economic and technological cooperation.

China hopes the APEC members will implement the economic growth strategy agreed on last year, striving to achieve a balanced, inclusive, sustainable, innovative and safe economic growth, said Wu Hailong, assistant foreign minister of China, at a press briefing last week.

He said that China expects the APEC members to comprehensively promote regional trade and investment liberalization, adding that all members should fulfill their commitments and oppose all forms of trade protectionism.

APEC should strengthen economic and technical cooperation to enhance the ability of the developing members to develop further, and therefore to achieve common prosperity, said the senior diplomat.

“APEC members generally hold positive attitudes toward U.S. proposals in various fields such as green growth, innovation policy. But some of the U.S.’s expected outcomes are beyond the capacity of the developing members, and they have expressed their difficulties and concerns,” Wu said.

“However, all parties hope this meeting will achieve balanced and practical results,” he said.

The United States, as host of the meeting, will push for green growth and the next-generation free trade agreement known as Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) at the APEC meeting, U.S. trade officials said.

The U.S. side is aggressively pushing the TPP, which is being negotiated among the United States and eight other partners, namely Australia, Brunei, Chile, Malaysia, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam.

Chinese Assistant Commerce Minister Yu Jianhua told reporters last week that China hopes the meeting will further promote the liberalization and facilitation of trade and investment in the Asia-Pacific region, push forward economic and technology cooperation, support multilateral trade systems, and oppose trade protectionism, so as to inject vitality into world economic recovery and growth.

APEC members should make joint efforts to remove discriminatory trade restrictions on high-tech products, and promote technology transfer and cooperation, so as to enable all members to benefit, he said.

On green growth, he said as APEC members differ sharply in their bases, conditions and levels in developing a green economy, the liberalization of environmental products and services should be steadily promoted.

He also called on the developed economies to enhance capital and technical support for the developing economies to help them achieve their potential for sustainable development.

At the end of the meeting, the leaders are expected to issue a statement on the major issues which have been discussed at the gathering.

APEC is the premier economic forum in the Asia-Pacific region.

Since APEC’s founding in 1989, it has grown to encompass 21 members , and represents the most economically dynamic region in the world, accounting for approximately 40 percent of the world’s population, around 50 percent of the world’s GDP and about 44 percent of world trade.

APEC’s 21 member economies are Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, China, China’s Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Peru, the Philippines, Russia, Singapore, Chinese Taipei, Thailand, the United States and Vietnam.

Xinhua