Guest Post: The New Leader of the Free Trade World?

by | Nov 22, 2016 | Trade Working Blog


Guest post from Tony Nowell, CNZM, Member, ABAC New Zealand


At the APEC CEO Summit in Lima, Peru, this week we witnessed an excellent and wide ranging speech from President Xi Jinping of China. President Xi’s speech throughout emphasised the importance of open markets and free trade.

Starting with a reflection on consensus views of the current sluggish economy and anti-globalisation sentiments which present growing and multiple challenges to Asia Pacific growth, President Xi delivered a strong and balanced message about the dangers of fragmentation, that closed economies was the “wrong choice” and that globalisation was in keeping “with the basic law of economics”.

The President emphasised the need for “aligning and connecting” to unleash the potential of Asia Pacific in physical, institutional and people terms. He referenced China’s ‘Belt and Road’ initiative as an important component of connecting and facilitating new regional and global value chains. He also emphasised the need to boost reform and innovation, promote rural co-operation, deepen and expand co-operation while rejecting undercutting and exclusive behaviours, to build a sound and stable platform for development. He stressed that this needs concrete action from each APEC member.

President Xi closed with a commentary on the trajectory of the Chinese economy, with emphasis on encouraging transformation and building a prosperous society based on supply side structural reform, deepening reform of the economy and government institutions, and the creation of an international standard enabling environment that will present a level playing field for local and foreign investors, and encourage more Chinese companies to go-global through greater access to foreign direct investment and free trade zones.

We heard a strong message of the need for equitable, inclusive development and the great opportunities that China’s development will offer to the world through strong support for multi-lateral trade.

Have we also heard a strong statement from the new leader of the free trade world, driving straight and hard into an obvious and glaring gap that has rapidly evolved?


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