29 November 2014
This month’s Apec Summit in Beijing was no doubt China’s show. Beijing came out looking very much what it is touted to be , the world’s second-largest economy , now leading the charge towards a freely trading region known as the Free Trade Area of the Asia Pacific (FTAAP).
For an economy once closed off from the global trading system, this is one giant leap. In so doing, China overshadowed and reduced a rival initiative from the United States , the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP), which excludes Beijing, to what is a subsidiary platform.
President Xi Jinping has just shown that the agenda of liberalising trade in the Asia-Pacific cannot but take China into account. Indeed, this agenda will hence forth be dictated by China. To show how serious it is, the Beijing Apec Declaration came complete with a road map towards realisation of the FTAAP, though a clear deadline was shelved for now. With the US outmanoeuvred, the economic power game entered a second stage in Myanmar last week where Asean hosted the East Asia Summit in which both China and the US are members (with Beijing represented by Prime Minister Li Keqiang).
…Yang Razali Kassim is senior fellow at Singapore’s S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS), Nanyang Technological University.
RSIS / Online
Last updated on 01/12/2014