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China and US to Upgrade Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) to a Free Trade Deal
08-10-2011, 05:02 PM,
Information  China and US to Upgrade Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) to a Free Trade Deal
Not too much mention of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) treaty trade agreement on the forum. Well it seems that the time is ripe to kick it up a notch and have a complete free trade deal between the US and China.

Reason cited: To bolster the failing economy.

Quote:US opens regional trade gambit in Asia
Jul 30, 2011
By Sreeram Chaulia

Towards the end of her five-day visit to Asia that revealed new strategic thinking on several foreign policy indicators, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton this week delivered a path-breaking speech on economic diplomacy in Hong Kong. Grandly titled as "Principles for Prosperity in the Asia-Pacific", it purported to place the United States in the cockpit to drive the agenda of regional economic integration that is distinct from what China has been attempting under its own leadership banner.

Employing the language of economic rationality and avoidance of wasteful costs, Clinton criticized "a hodgepodge of inconsistent and partial bilateral agreements which may lower tariffs, but which also create new inefficiencies". Taking to task the over 100 bilateral trade pacts signed by Asian states in less than a decade, she beckoned towards "true regional integration" and a "genuine free trade area of the Asia-Pacific".

The strategic undercurrent of these pronouncements is a reality that the US' export-oriented businesses are feeling the pinch of being left out of the growing sphere of intra-Asian trade, with China as the center of the wheel. The possibility that American businesses - spearheads tasked by President Barack Obama to generate new export revenues to bolster the sputtering US economy - could be left out of the Asian pie as preferential trade agreements (PTAs) and bilateral deals proliferate is a long-term apparition that haunts geo-economic planning in Washington.

Clinton's emphatic assertion in the Hong Kong speech that the US is a "resident economic power in Asia" is an indication that the Obama administration aims to use its formal resumption this November of leadership of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum to stage a comeback into a regional field that is centering and shaping around China.

Chinese demand for commodities and Chinese supply of manufactured products now form the loci around which many Asian PTAs and bilateral trade agreements are mushrooming. Beyond the obvious ASEAN-China Free Trade Area forged by Beijing with the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and operational since January 2010, even those bilateral pacts which do not formally involve China as a partner (eg the ASEAN-Korea Free Trade Area) are impacted by the terms of trade and currency rates being set by Chinese economic activity across the region.

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