MOSCOW, May 19. /ITAR-TASS/. Russian Economic Development Minister Alexei Ulyukayev said a preparation stage for creating a free trade zone in the Asia-Pacific Region continue up to 2025.
Ulyukayev spoke after a meeting of trade ministers of Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) member-states on Monday. The meeting was held in China on May 17-18.
Some multilateral trade zones have been created in the Asia-Pacific Region, but there is nothing like a united free trade zone that would include all APEC countries, he added.
“I should say the problem is how to involve all countries in this activity and create multilateral conditions,” he said in an interview with Rossiya 24 TV Channel on Monday.
“Multilateral practice is more difficult than bilateral, that is why certain preparations should be made. Approaches should be studied,” Ulyukayev said.
There are different points of view, but the parties agree that the preparatory stage will last until 2025. “We’ll have substantial discussions and work out common approaches and concepts,” he said.
An agreement to this effect was reached at the ministerial meeting on May 18-19, Ulyukayev said.
Discussions focused on China’s proposal to determine four key directions to create the Asia-Pacific Region free trade zone. In particular, proposals for developing a plan of action and conducting initial studies have been criticized.
Ulyukayev upheld China’s initiative. He said it was inexpedient to specify any concrete time period.