China lauded its regional trade deal at the annual APEC summit in Manila. The call comes amid heightened tension in the region between Beijing and Washington, which is promoting its own trade deal among allies.
Chinese President Xi Jinping called on Wednesday for countries to sign up for Beijing's regional trade agreement at the annual Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in Manila.
"With various new regional free trade arrangements cropping up there have been worries about the potential of fragmentation," Xi told an audience of business leaders in the Philippine capital.
The Chinese president said he would therefore speed up the process of implementing the Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific (FTAAP), Beijing's alternative to Washington's free trade agreement for the region, the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).
US President Barack Obama was also in Manila to promote his trade deal, which was agreed upon last month but now faces a tough battle in the US Congress. The 11 other members of TPP were also at APEC to extol the virtues of the pact, which, if passed, would be the largest free trade deal in the world.
TPP has drawn criticism from China and Russia, both of whom are excluded from participating.
"We need to encourage equal footing, participation and extensive consultation and make free trade agreements open and inclusive to the extent possible," Xi said in his speech at APEC.
TPP has also sparked outrage from members of the public. About 200 anti-globalization protestors attempted to march against TPP during the summit, but were prevented by police.
The other signatories of TPP are Australia, Chile, Peru, Mexico, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, Malaysia, Brunei and Vietnam.
blc/msh (AFP, AP)