President Xi Jinping once again highlighted the importance of open economies and inclusive development for a new round of global prosperity on Saturday, the second day of his attendance at APEC events.
Xi made the remark while speaking at the 25th Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Economic Leaders’ Meeting in the coastal Vietnamese city of Da Nang.
The 21 APEC members should promote innovation as a strong growth driver and open up their economies to create more space for development, Xi said.
“History has taught us that closed-door development will get nowhere, while open development is the only right choice,” he told APEC leaders.
While addressing the APEC CEO Summit on Friday, Xi had also called on APEC members to build open economies and pursue inclusive development.
On Saturday, the president said APEC members should remain true to the group’s founding purpose: to advance trade and investment liberalization and facilitation, build an open economy, uphold and strengthen the multilateral trading regime and help rebalance economic globalization.
“We need to take determined steps toward a Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific in line with the agreed road map, and herald a new round of development in the Asia-Pacific in the course of opening-up,” he said.
Zhang Jun, director-general of the Foreign Ministry’s international economics department, said at a news conference in Da Nang on Saturday that this year’s APEC Economic Leaders’ Week has achieved proactive results that consolidate Asia-Pacific regional cooperation among member economies.
“Clear messages have been delivered by President Xi that China’s development is entering into a new stage,” said Zhang. “Many leaders speak highly of the proposition raised by President Xi, having great prospects for China’s future development and expecting to participate in international cooperation based on the Belt and Road Initiative to facilitate regional prosperity and development.”
Chen Xiangyang, director of the Crisis Management Research Center of the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations, said that Xi’s speech has expressed China’s strong confidence and responsibility as the world’s second-largest economy.
“Leading by the new Thought in a new era after the 19th CPC National Congress, China will become the anchor of peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific region, and the experience of China’s development will continue to drive the world’s growth,” said Chen.
Founded in 1989, APEC, with 21 members, now accounts for about 40 percent of the global population, 60 percent of global economic output and 48 percent of global trade.
Noting that next year will mark the 40th anniversary of China’s reform and opening-up, Xi said that in nearly four decades China has opened its arms to embrace the world and achieved “leapfrog development” in the process.
“Looking ahead, China will open still wider and its development will deliver even greater benefits to the rest of the world,” he said.
He told the other APEC economic leaders that starting next year, China will hold an international import expo.
“I am sure this new platform of mutually beneficial cooperation will help all parties better share the opportunities of China’s development,” he said.
The leader of the world’s second-largest economy also underlined the role of innovation in driving China’s economic development in recent years.
He said online retail sales in China, which now has 750 million internet users, are growing by 30 percent a year, with the “sharing economy “volume having reached 3.5 trillion yuan ($527 billion) and mobile payment transactions having exceeded 158 trillion yuan.
Xi called for greater efforts to address the lack of inclusiveness in development, which is a problem facing many economies, in a bid to enable more people to share the benefits of development.
He asked APEC members to develop a stronger sense of community, harmonize their policies and create synergy.
“As we have agreed on the direction and framework of an Asia-Pacific partnership, it is time to take solid steps toward this goal,” he said.
In addition, Xi, who is also general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, briefed the other leaders on last month’s 19th CPC National Congress, which drew a blueprint for China’s development in the next five years and beyond.
China will bring more opportunities and make greater contributions to the Asia-Pacific and the world at large, Xi said.
During the second phase of the meeting on Saturday afternoon, the APEC economic leaders discussed the new driving forces for trade and investment.
They agreed that the FTAAP process should be advanced and that inclusive development must be boosted to enable all parties to benefit from economic globalization.
A declaration was issued following the conclusion of the 25th APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting, which was held on Friday and Saturday using the theme of “Creating New Dynamism, Fostering a Shared Future”.
On Saturday morning, Xi and the other leaders also held a dialogue with Christine Lagarde, managing director of the International Monetary Fund, on the global economic situation. Xi gave a briefing about China’s economy.