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Beijing eyes on two regional pacts as the US quit TPP

By Zhang Yunbi | | Updated: 2017-01-24 19:21

Beijing said on Tuesday that it will support ongoing deliberation of two free trade arrangements in the Asia-Pacific region after the United States quit the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).

The new US President Donald Trump signed an executive order on Monday to withdraw the country from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a trade agreement that his predecessor Barack Obama had hoped to become his legacy.

The 12-member TPP - a trade pact composed of countries around the Pacific Ocean - has excluded China.

Beijing has been an advocate of two other free-trade pacts - Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) and Free-Trade Agreement of the Asia-Pacific (FTAAP).

When asked to comment the US quitting decision, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said China endorses open, transparent and mutually beneficial free trade agreements, and trade rules “should be jointly settled through consultations on equal footing”.

China is ready to work with various parties to stay committed to press ahead the economic integration process in the Asia-Pacific region, Hua said.

Beijing will further promote the negotiation of RCEP as the negotiation has achieved key progress and it should be completed at an early date to inject dynamism into the Asia-Pacific and the global economy, Hua said.

Also, the building of the Asia-Pacific free-trade zone should be further advanced as leaders of Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation member economies have agreed on a vision and a plan on this, according to Hua.

Some observers and media have said the Trump administration quitting the TPP will give China more chances to play a bigger role and even assume political or economic leadership in international affairs.

In response, the spokeswoman said the word “duty” is more accurate than “leadership”.

China is willing to work with all parties to show their shoulders, “jointly weather the storm”, and take its own on duty of resolving various problems facing the world and promoting joint development and prosperity, Hua said.

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