APEC is back in China once again after 13 years. In a time when the shadow of the global financial crisis is still lingering, the APEC (Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation) meeting in Beijing is expected to reboot a lackluster economy in the region.
Like economies elsewhere, the Asia-Pacific region has seen tepid growth due to bottlenecks in domestic economic reforms and restructuring, weak external demand and dampened investor confidence.
Regional stability has been the foundation for sustained economic growth. However, complicated geopolitics, emerging disputes and tensions in the Asia-Pacific may undermine economic development. The best answer is to foster inclusive partnerships, said Ruan Zongze, vice president of the China Institute of International Studies.
Summed up by the theme of this year's APEC -- "Shaping the Future Through Asia-Pacific Partnership" -- inclusive partnerships may be the greatest common ground APEC members can find, Ruan said.
Ruan said the meeting will help pave the way for APEC members to bring their relationships away from a zero-sum contest so that they can focus on promoting a sustainable economic development.
The meeting, prioritizing three topics -- "Advancing regional economic integration", "Promoting innovative development, economic reform and growth" and "Strengthening comprehensive development in infrastructure and connectivity", will provide new engines to reboot growth.
As a cooperation mechanism focusing on economy and trade, APEC has put promoting regional economic integration top on the agenda of its meetings. APEC members are expected to begin the process of creating the Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific (FTAAP) and take a step forward in economic integration.
Through coordination and cooperation with APEC members, an important consensus will be reached on the launch of the FTAAP process during the meeting in Beijing, thus sending out a clear signal of enhancing regional integration and turning this long-standing vision into concrete actions, said China's Foreign Minister Wang Yi last week.
Establishing the FTAAP is an idea proposed by all 21 APEC members and "there are no blockages or conflicts" that would prevent its creation, Wang Shouwen, assistant minister of commerce, told reporters at a briefing on Tuesday.
China seeks to implement the APEC FTA information exchange mechanism to increase transparency and facilitate interaction between the the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), Wang Shouwen added.
The economic growth engine is also rooted in innovation and reform.
The APEC meeting in Beijing will feature in-depth discussions on topics including economic reform, new economy, innovative growth, inclusive support and urbanization.
Internet economy, maritime "blue economy" and "green economy," technological cooperation, innovation and entrepreneurship, food safety, anti-corruption are among topics of the APEC meeting, outlining fields and methods for future cooperation among APEC members.
Developed economies can lend experience for emerging ones as they pursue advanced industry, prevent financial risks and promote urbanization, while developing members can share experiences of reform and economic transformation, and, importantly, how to avoid the middle-income trap.
To unleash a new stimulus for Asia-Pacific economic development, the APEC meeting is also expected to draw up a new blueprint for establishing comprehensive connectivity in the Asia-Pacific.
It is expected to be published after the meeting, which will involve the required infrastructure, namely the construction of roads, railways and shipping lanes, and regulations, including rules, mechanisms and procedures, as well as people-to-people exchanges.
A lack of new economic growth has left many Asia-Pacific economies pinning high expectation on connectivity, and the blueprint will be a document ready to be implemented, said Tang Guoqiang, chairman of the China National Committee for Pacific Economic Cooperation Council.
The blueprint is expected to include target, ideas, financing, supervision and evaluation mechanisms, and others, he added.
Other key topics to be discussed at the APEC meeting include China's initiatives of the Silk Road Economic Belt, the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road and establishing the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank.
As Wang Yi has put it, these initiatives are completely open and inclusive. The primary cooperation partners of these initiatives are Asia-Pacific members. They are also ones that will benefit the most.
Effective discussion of all these topics will provide driving force for future economic growth of the Asia-Pacific region, said Ruan Zongze.
As the host, China's initiatives and wisdom will facilitate this year's APEC meeting to achieve unusual and substantial results, he added.