Joint efforts should be made to speed up the economic integration process in the Asia-Pacific region, with the Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific (FTAAP) as a long-term vision, Chinese Minister of Commerce Gao Hucheng said here on Friday.
The Asia-Pacific economy is playing a critical role in the world, serving as the growth engine of the global economy, Gao said in his opening remarks at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Ministerial Meeting kicking off on Friday.
The APEC has made important contributions to the trade and investment liberalization and closer economic and technology cooperation among member economies, said Gao, who co-chaired the meeting with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi.
APEC's 21 economies have accounted for 57 percent of the world's total gross domestic product (GDP), and all member economies need to use wisdom and courage to continue safeguarding the multilateral trading system in an unswerving manner, he added.
"In the meantime, all APEC members should actively promote economic and technology cooperation and seek mutual benefit and common development through closer partnership," Gao said.
"We should foster an Asia-Pacific economy full of dynamism," said Wang Yi in his opening remarks.
APEC's member economies should seek growth bonus from reforms, generate growth momentum through innovation, and equip the regional economy with a strong engine, said Wang.
They should forge closer partnership featuring interlinked policies, similar ideals, openness and inclusiveness, Wang added.
All members should build a cooperation pattern on the basis of mutual benefit to promote common development, strengthen coordination of macro-economic policies, tackle global challenges with all their strength and increase input on economic and technology cooperation, stressed Wang.
Since the start of this year, all member economies have conducted comprehensive and in-depth discussions on an array of economic and trade issues, and important consensuses have been achieved on a set of topics including facilitating the building of FTAAP, global value chain and supply chain cooperation, said Gao.
The vision of FTAAP is to help consolidate various bilateral and multilateral cooperation mechanisms in the region, and minimize the risks caused by overlapping and fragmented free trade arrangements.
"I believe positive, tangible and comprehensive achievements can be made during the meeting, laying a solid foundation for the upcoming APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting," Gao added.
The meeting is scheduled to wrap up on Saturday. China is this year's host of a series of APEC meetings in Beijing under the theme "Shaping the Future through Asia-Pacific Partnership."