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Hainan hosted international forum on creating RCEP free trade zone

More than 450 experts, diplomats, representatives of international organizations and media attended the event

HAIKOU, May 21. /TASS/. The press office of the Publicity Department of CPC Hainan Provincial Committee, the China Daily newspaper and the Hainan branch of China Institute for Reform and Development Studies organized an international forum in Haikou on the establishment of a free trade zone under the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (CREP). This was reported by China Daily.

More than 450 experts, diplomats, representatives of international organizations and media from China as well as Australia, Cambodia, Great Britain, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Myanmar, Laos, Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, and the Philippines participated in the event titled "Jointly building the World's Largest Free Trade Area - The 2023 RCEP Media and Think Tank Forum," according to the daily.

Liu Xiaoming, Deputy Secretary of the CPC Hainan Provincial Party Committee, Secretary of the Party Leadership Group and acting Governor of the province, Qiu Yingpu, editor-in-chief of China Daily, Wang Bin, a member of the Standing Committee of the CPC Hainan Provincial Committee and head of the provincial Party committee's Publicity Department, and Chi Fulin, head of the Hainan-based China Institute for Reform and Development, participated in the opening ceremony.

Speeches made by the participants

In his speech, Wang Bin pointed out that in the past five years Hainan provincial government has strictly abided by the decisions of the central government and promoted the construction of a free trade port. He said Hainan would continue to integrate with the RCEP and serve as an important bridge between the RCEP and China.

He stressed that the region would play its role in promoting China's openness, take full advantage of its geographical position and create an important hub for cooperation between China and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). He also pointed out that Hainan Province will leverage its resource advantages and make efforts to create an important cooperation area within the RCEP in the partnership between China and ASEAN countries in the development of world ocean resources. As Wang Bin pointed out, the region also plans to become an important hub for deepening humanitarian contacts and cultural exchanges.

Qiu Yingpu, editor-in-chief of China Daily, noted that this year marks the 10th anniversary of Chinese President Xi Jinping's vision of creating a community of one destiny and his One Belt, One Road initiative. He noted that over the years, China has taken a number of practical steps to develop regional exchanges with RCEP countries and achieved practical results. Qiu Yingpu pointed out that the China Daily will always actively cover the construction of the free trade port in Hainan province and the activities of RCEP, and promote regional exchanges and cooperation.

Chi Fulin, head of the Hainan-based China Institute for Reform and Development, pointed out that interregional development under RCEP could be the key to solving many problems. He also noted that the conjunction and mutual integration of RCEP and the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) should be promoted. Chi Fulin stressed that ASEAN and China can be a driving force for the RCEP, and the free trade zone between them will serve as an important factor in achieving the goals of this broader economic association.

Forum program

The first plenary session of the forum was titled "RCEP and Regional Economic Integration Development". During this session, Chinese and foreign experts discussed the prospects for cooperation between RCEP and other political and economic arenas and associations in the Asia-Pacific region, including ASEAN, the USPTO, and the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum. The panelists also recommended prioritizing supply chain stability within the RCEP, as well as attracting new economies from South and Central Asia to the grouping. Experts noted that RCEP needs to establish a secretariat as soon as possible to accelerate institutional development.

During the second plenary session titled "China-Japan-Republic of Korea: RCEP Economic and Trade Cooperation," Xia Dezhen, vice chairman of the Economics Committee of the 13th National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, called for leveraging Northeast China's industrial base and potential cooperation with Russia. Other experts called for activating the China-Japan-Republic of Korea trilateral dialogue as soon as possible to discuss trade and economic cooperation, considering mutual reduction of import duties, and developing cooperation in areas such as health care and electronic cross-border trade, and mutual recognition of certificates, standards and professional qualifications.

Three concurrent forums were also held simultaneously with the main forum to discuss accelerating the dividends of RCEP to increase regional economic growth, joint construction of a free trade zone, and the role of the media in promoting RCEP development.