Economic development in Asia still faces many challenges, China minister says

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BEIJING (Reuters) – Economic and trade development in the Asia-Pacific still faces many disturbances and challenges, China’s commerce minister Wang Wentao said.

Wang made the comments at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) conference in Detroit, where he met with several leaders and exchanged views on multilateral and bilateral economic and trade issues amid wider global trade rifts and uncertainties.

Wang said he recognized the difficulties faced by the region, but added that China, as a major developing country, was willing to make due contributions.

“The Asia-Pacific region has always been the region with the most growth vitality, development potential and economic resilience in the global economy, but economic and trade development still faces many disturbances and challenges,” Wang said, according to a statement from the Chinese Ministry of Commerce.

Wang also discussed China’s positions on supporting the multilateral trading system and promoting sustainable and inclusive trade development.

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“China calls on APEC economies to continue to uphold open regionalism, unswervingly promote the process of regional economic integration, further deepen trade and investment cooperation, and share the opportunities and dividends brought by the integrated development of regional industrial chains and supply chains,” Wang said.

World leaders have been looking for ways to fortify global supply chains, which are still wobbly in the post-COVID world.

China’s economy has been struggling to regain solid footing after its own restrictive three-year COVID-19 policies dampened growth. The curbs were largely dismantled in December and the government has ramped up several measures to ignite economic expansion.

Wang also urged APEC countries to carry out policy exchanges and coordination, promote industrial cooperation and infrastructure investment, assist the least developed economies, and help small and medium-sized enterprises share development opportunities.

(Reporting by Ella Cao and Bernard Orr; Editing by Kim Coghill)

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