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China's Constructive Role in Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation: An In-depth Analysis

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BNN Correspondents
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APEC's Importance

The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) is a forum that seeks to promote free trade and economic cooperation throughout the Asia-Pacific region. Since its establishment in 1989, APEC has grown to include 21 countries, covering four continents, nearly half of the world's total population, 50 percent of all international trade, and approximately 57 percent of global GDP. Key members include Australia, Brunei, Canada, China, Indonesia, Japan, and the United States among others. An additional 12 nations have applied to join, demonstrating the forum's significant influence in the region.

China's Role in APEC

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China's involvement in APEC is significant, representing close to 70 percent of all of China's global trade. Since joining in 1991, China has reduced its general tariff rates for imported goods from APEC members from nearly 40 percent to 9.8 percent by the end of 2010. This reflects China's commitment to the principles of free trade and economic cooperation that APEC embodies. To further demonstrate its commitment, China has created a US$10 million APEC cooperation fund to encourage and support Chinese enterprises to participate in APEC's economic and technical cooperation initiatives.

(Read Also: Philippines Confirms Removal of Floating Barrier by China in South China Sea)

China's Constructive Role

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Recently, China has expressed its willingness to play a constructive role in ensuring the success of APEC. While the specific actions that China plans to take have not been outlined, its stated commitment to the success of the forum is a promising indicator of China's future involvement. Given China's economic influence in the region, its active participation could significantly contribute to APEC's goals of promoting free trade, raising living standards, and fostering a sense of community among Asia-Pacific countries.

(Read Also: South Korea Hosts Trilateral Meeting with Japan and China Amid Efforts to Reassure Beijing)

APEC's Role in Global Challenges

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Aside from its primary focus on economic cooperation, APEC also provides a platform for global leaders to discuss other bilateral matters or issues of global importance. This includes pressing issues such as environmental considerations and food and energy security. For instance, at the recent APEC Summit, Indonesia and Malaysia lobbied for reduced import duties on palm oil and rubber, key manufacturing pillars of each country's economy. APEC members agreed to reduce these tariffs on the condition that these products are sourced from non-rainforest areas, reflecting APEC's commitment to environmental sustainability.

Future Outlook

With the next APEC CEO Summit set to take place in Beijing, China's role in the forum will likely be further highlighted. As China continues to express its willingness to play a constructive role in APEC, it will be interesting to observe the strategies it employs to promote free trade and economic cooperation in the Asia-Pacific region. At the same time, as APEC continues to grapple with global challenges such as environmental sustainability and food and energy security, China's involvement could be a significant factor in determining the forum's success in these areas.

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