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Together, three neighbors can better promote free trade in Asia

By Zhong Sheng | China Daily | Updated: 2019-04-18 07:39
Containers are organised in stacks at the Yangshan Deep Water Port, part of the Shanghai Pilot Free Trade Zone in Shanghai on Feb 13, 2017. [Photo/VCG]

THE 15TH ROUND OF NEGOTIATIONS AMONG CHINA, Japan and the Republic of Korea on a free trade agreement was held in Tokyo last week. Zhong Sheng, a columnist for People's Daily, comments:

The three countries had in-depth exchanges of opinions on trade in goods, trade in services, investment, rules and other issues and, on the basis of a consensus achieved on the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, agreed to further improve the level of trade and investment liberalization and forge a RCEP-plus free trade agreement.

The joint efforts of the three countries to advance the construction of a free trade agreement show their common determination to uphold the multilateral trading system and oppose unilateralism and protectionism.

China, Japan and the ROK are the beneficiaries and also advocates of free trade, and it is their common aspiration to safeguard free trade.

The world has become a global village in which countries are becoming increasingly interconnected and interdependent in economic and social development. Protectionism will not produce winners, and promoting connectivity and accelerating integrated development is the right way to common prosperity and development.

Only by expanding opening-up and reducing barriers can international economic and trade cooperation be boosted. Instead, a beggar-thy-neighbor or isolationist policy will make the world economy difficult to develop healthily. It is due to such concerns that the World Trade Organization has lowered its forecast for global trade growth for this year to 2.6 percent.

To choose an open or closed approach tests the wisdom of all countries. To adhere to opening-up as a basic national policy is a strategic choice China has made based on its own development needs. Despite facing protectionist pressure, China has still decided to open wider to the outside world.

China's greater efforts to promote openness at a higher level, and build an open world economy and a community with a shared future for mankind will effectively promote economic globalization, safeguard the multilateral trading system and facilitate openness, cooperation and common development among countries.

  
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