Asia-Pacific countries show 'strong interest' in promoting economic integration despite U.S. retreat

Updated 2017-03-20 15:31:03 Xinhua

Major Asia-Pacific countries have showed a “strong interest” in pushing forward regional economic integration in Chile, a top U.S. trade expert told Xinhua, even though U.S. government turned back from it.


“I think the meeting in Chile was very constructive,” said Jeffrey Schott, a senior fellow working on international trade policy and economic sanctions at Peterson Institute for International Economics, a think-tank based in Washington D.C. on Thursday.

“It has brought together many countries of the pacific region that have a stake in deepening economic integration and a strong interest in finding ways to move that process forward,” said Schott, who has been a member of the Trade and Environment Policy Advisory Committee of the U.S. government since 2003.

From Tuesday to Wednesday, Chile hosted a high-level dialogue meeting on integration initiatives in the Asia-Pacific joined by fifteen countries in the region including eleven remaining Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) member countries, United States, China, South Korea and Colombia.

“It is very constructive for Chinese officials to participate in these talks,” said Schott, adding “China has been at the center of discussions of many regional economic integrations for many years.”

Schott believed discussions in Chile had achieved concrete results saying “they have confirmed the process of consultation will continue in May on the sideline of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) trade ministers meeting in Vietnam.”

“There was a general recognition of the importance of sustaining many of the innovative results that have come out in the recent trade negotiations,” added Schott.


Chile meeting is the first meeting of TPP members after the U.S. President Donald Trump withdrew the United States from it in January which was believed to have the treaty knocked down.

TPP was signed by its members in February 2016. It was one of the largest regional free trade agreements in Asia-Pacific region which encompassed 40 percent of the world economy.

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