China may have 'missed the boat' on TPP trade negotiations

Updated: 2013-12-07 06:52

By Li Jiabao (China Daily)

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Chen said that China does have an opportunity, as the 2014 APEC meeting is going to be held in Beijing. It was held in Shanghai in 2001.

"China should actively put forward the proposal to build up an Asia-Pacific FTA during the meeting and effectively advance the economic integration in the Asia-Pacific region, making use of the TPP and the RCEP," Chen said.

The TPP will bring about benefits of $300 billion a year and the RCEP will produce benefits of $600 billion a year, but a pact covering all the Asia-Pacific economies, including the 21 members of the APEC, will yield benefits of $2 trillion a year, said Petri.

East Asian economies established 26 free trade pacts in the past two decades, accounting for 30 percent of the world's total.

Eighty percent of these pacts were formulated in the past decade, according to Zhang Shaogang, minister-counselor of the Department of International Trade and Economic Affairs at the Ministry of Commerce.

"Various free trade pacts improved the integration of economic and value chains in the region, but also caused some problems for the participants.

"The construction of the TPP and RCEP will provide the foundation for merging the FTAs in the Asia-Pacific region," Zhang said.

"We never believed that the tracks of the TPP and RCEP were mutually exclusive. They reflect different appeals of economies at different development phases, and they can be advanced in parallel and have positive interactions," he added.

"When conditions are ripe, we will join [the TPP] or be invited into it," said Pei Changhong, director of the Institute of Economics at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

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