President Xi calls for more APEC connectivity

By Wu Jiao in Bali and Chen Jia in Beijing ( China Daily )

Updated: 2013-10-09

President Xi calls for more APEC connectivity

President Xi Jinping and his Indonesian counterpart Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono exchange greetings as they join other APEC leaders for a group photo in Bali, Indonesia, on Tuesday. Dennis Sabangan / Agence France-Presse

China 'willing' to play part in building regional infrastructure

President Xi Jinping on Tuesday called for improved connectivity under the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation mechanism as part of efforts to promote economic integration.

At the APEC informal economic leaders' meeting on the Indonesian resort island of Bali, Xi renewed his call to establish an Asian investment bank to finance infrastructure construction.

Connectivity is vital to the Asia-Pacific region, which covers 21 economies and is home to a population of 2.8 billion, the president said.

"China is keen to explore and develop investment and financing channels for infrastructure construction," he said.

After the meeting, APEC leaders signed a joint declaration that aims to shore up economic development in the region.

The statement said that a well-designed, sustainable and resilient physical infrastructure can enhance the connectivity of the region, address supply-chain chokepoints, increase productivity and provide significant positive effects including access to markets, job creation and economic growth across sectors.

"We encourage efforts to strengthen partnerships involving government, private sector and international institutions to explore and improve infrastructure financing and investment," the statement said.

It also highlighted topics including achieving sustainable growth with equity, promoting inter-connectivity in the region.

Wei Jianguo, secretary-general of the China Center for International Economic Exchanges, a government think tank, said that promoting connectivity can help rebalance industrial structures and upgrade growth patterns among APEC economies.

For developing economies in the region, a priority is to shift export-oriented economies into ones that depend more on "domestic power", he said.

"It is crucial to improve coordination and information sharing among top-level government officials, as well as strengthen coordination on macroeconomic policies and jointly promote regional development," he said.

Fan Bi, a senior researcher at the center, said that a safe and effective financial cooperation mechanism will help APEC members jointly improve infrastructure and tackle potential economic risks.

"To build the Asia infrastructure investment bank or a relevant specific fund, funding can be provided by governments, entrepreneurs and financial institutions from APEC members, and China could contribute a relatively large part to the fund," Fan said.

With its capital base and rich experience, China can play a big role in infrastructure construction in the Asia-Pacific region. Power, port, airport and telecom sectors can provide opportunities for China, he said.

In 2014, China will host the APEC economic leaders' meeting in Beijing.

APEC is an economic forum in the Asia-Pacific region and its 21 members aim to facilitate free trade and investment.

The informal economic leaders' meeting is the highest-level meeting of the forum.

According to the International Monetary Fund, APEC members account for 54 percent of global GDP. Their economies, as a whole, are expected to grow 6.3 percent in 2013 and 6.6 percent in 2014.

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Xinhua contributed to this story.

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