President Xi Jinping delivers a speech at an informal leaders' meeting of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation via video link in Beijing on Friday, July 16, 2021. (Photo/Xinhua)
Funding targets developing countries' anti-COVID battle, economic recovery
President Xi Jinping highlighted on Friday the need for Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation economies to enhance solidarity and cooperation to overcome the impact of COVID-19 and boost global economic recovery, as he announced a package of aid measures for other developing nations.
China will provide another $3 billion in international aid over the next three years to support COVID-19 response and economic and social recovery in other developing countries, the president announced in a speech delivered via video link at the APEC Informal Economic Leaders' Retreat.
It was the first time in APEC's history that the leaders had held an extraordinary meeting, which was convened by New Zealand as this year's chair.
The president put forward China's proposals in four aspects, noting that controlling the pandemic still poses a difficult challenge and global economic recovery is still on shaky ground.
He urged APEC economies to strengthen international cooperation on COVID response, saying that the nation supports waiving intellectual property rights on COVID-19 vaccines, and will work with other parties to push for an early decision by the World Trade Organization and other international institutions.
"We must stick to solidarity and cooperation as we go through this difficult time and jointly work for a healthier and brighter future for humanity," he said.
China has provided over 500 million doses of vaccines to other developing nations, and the nation will take an active part in cooperation initiatives to keep vaccine supply chains stable and safe and support the movement of essential goods, he said.
He also pledged to adopt effective measures to ensure healthy, safe and orderly people-to-people exchanges and restore normal business cooperation in the APEC region at an early date.
Beijing has financed the founding of a sub-fund on APEC cooperation on combating COVID-19 and economic recovery, which will help APEC economies win an early victory over COVID-19 and achieve economic recovery, he said.
Xi reiterated the importance of promoting the liberalization and facilitation of trade and investment and upholding the multilateral trading system with the WTO at its core.
"We must remove barriers, not erect walls. We must open up, not close off. We must seek integration, not decoupling. This is the way to make economic globalization more open, inclusive, balanced and beneficial for all," he said.
He also called for steps to advance regional economic integration, with a view to establishing a high-standard Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific at an early date.
China supports APEC in advancing cooperation on sustainable development, improving the list of environmental goods eligible for tariff reductions, and making energy more efficient, clean and diverse, Xi said.
It is important to promote inclusive trade and investment, support the development of small and medium-sized enterprises, scale up support for women and other vulnerable groups, share experience on eliminating absolute poverty and strive to deliver the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, he said.
The president also stressed the importance of seizing opportunities from scientific and technological innovation, noting that the digital economy is an important area for the future growth of the world economy.
"Win-win cooperation is the only right way forward, while a closed-door policy, exclusion, confrontation and division would only lead to a dead end," he said.
He urged steps to further develop digital infrastructure and work for a digital business environment that is open, fair and nondiscriminatory, adding that China will host a workshop on digital capacity building and take forward initiatives such as bolstering the recovery of the tourism sector with digital tools.
As China embarks on a new journey toward fully building a modern socialist nation, the country will build a new system of an open economy with higher standards, create a more attractive business environment, and advance high-quality Belt and Road cooperation, Xi said.
"We hope to work with countries in the Asia-Pacific and beyond to achieve higher-standard mutual benefit and win-win cooperation," he said.