China has proposed the need for a framework to improve connectivity across the Asia-Pacific region, and boost economic partnerships between governments and private sectors.
Speaking at the Asia-Pacific Economic Coooperation (APEC) Summit in Bali, Indonesia, this week, China president Xi Jinping highlighted several key aspects in his pitch encompassing a connectivity network and platform to promote regional and international cooperation, according to a Xinhua report.
He urged APEC economies to establish a network covering the entire Asia-Pacific region to support the construction of "economic corridors" in various sub-regions as well as foster a vast APEC market covering 21 economies and 2.8 billion people.
On paper, this market includes economies geographically located outside the Asia-Pacific since APEC members include nations such as the United States, Canada, and Mexico. Together, these 21 member economies account for 40 percent of the world population, 44 percent of global trade at US$16.8 trillion, and 53 percent of global real GDP in purchasing power parity.
In his address, Xi called for efforts to ensure the free flow of production components in the region and improve coordinated development among APEC members to enhance regional integration.
Member economies also should strive to remove bottlenecks hindering connectivity as well as establish investment and financing partnerships, with participant from governments, private and global organizations, he added.
He noted that China is prepared to explore the establishment of an Asian investment bank to support the construction of the connectivity infrastructure, which APEC members should then promote within the frameworks of regional and global cooperation.
He urged all members to engage in "open, transparent" cooperation with active communication and participation, and in return for mutual benefits, and tap this increased connectivity to establish closer links in economy and trade, finance, education, science, and culture.
At the summit, APEC leaders jointly signed a declaration with the pledge to improve policy coordination, boost multilateral trade, promote regional integration, enhance cooperation in areas such as infrastructure connectivity, and develop an open world economy.
Indonesia President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono said at the start of the APEC summit: "To seize [market] opportunities, our region needs to be more interconnected and interlinked."
There have been other efforts between nations in this region to collaborate. In September last year, for instance, seven Asean stock exchanges announced the launch of the of the Asean Trading Link, connecting Bursa Malaysia and Singapore Exchange. The link is touted as a platform to offer investors easier access to the connected exchanges.
Following the initial launch connecting Singapore and Malaysia stock exchanges, the Stock Exchange of Thailand joined the link in October 2012. At launch, the three exchanges combined offered some 3,000 listed companies with market capitalization of US$1.4 trillion and accounted for about 70 percent of the total market capitalization of Asean. The Asean Exchanges also unveiled a website featuring aggregated market data and analytics.