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China ready to promote trade liberalization among RCEP countries

China is committed to promoting economic globalization and protecting free trade on the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP).

Speaking during the first session of the 13th National People’s Congress (NPC) at the Great Hall of People on March 5, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said People’s Republic of China is all set to speed up efforts to build the Free Trade Area (FTA) of the Asia-Pacific, and the East Asia Economic Community.

“We are ready to work with all relevant parties to advanced multilateral trade negotiations, and will work for the early conclusion of negotiations on the RCEP, as well as protecting free trade, Li said. “China calls for trade disputes to be settled through discussion as equals, opposes trade protectionism, and will resolutely safeguard its lawful rights.”

The China-led RCEP is a proposed FTA among the 10 ASEAN countries including Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam and the six states that ASEAN has existing FTAs -- Australia, China, India, Japan, South Korea and New Zealand.

Li noted that China has opened its doors wider to the world, where it has played a powerful role in their own development, and it presents important opportunities for the rest of the world.

He said China has moved forward with international cooperation on production capacity; high-speed rail, nuclear power, and other types of Chinese equipment have entered international markets.

“We have guided the healthy development of outbound investment and we have signed or upgraded eight free trade agreements until now,” he said.

Meanwhile, over the past five years, economic strength has reached a new high where China’s gross domestic product (GDP) has risen from RMB 54 trillion to 82.7 trillion, registering average annual growth of 7.1 percent; and its share in the global economy has grown to roughly 15 percent, up from 11.4 percent, Li said.

Greggy Eugenio / PNA