Asia-Pacific free trade area should override TPP, other trade deals

MANILA, Nov. 14 (PNA/Sputnik) — The Beijing-promoted Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific (FTAAP) between all 21 member states of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) organization should have priority over other trade deals in the region, including the controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a senior Peruvian official told Sputnik on Saturday.

“We need FTAAP to be the ceiling of the yielding in which TPP is now,” the official who wished to remain unnamed said on the sidelines of APEC Economic Leaders’ Week in Manila, the Philippines.

FTAAP is one of the main topics at the Manila meeting. It is regarded as an alternative to the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), which comprises 12 Pacific Rim countries and notably excludes China and Russia.

FTAAP has been under discussion among Pacific Rim nations for years. In 2014, China proposed a roadmap for translating APEC’s vision of the deal into reality, which provided for a collective strategic study of the pact, to be concluded by the end of 2016.

“We have a TPP with 12 economies, which is very advance, very deep. But if you go to FTAAP it will take even longer negotiations, because there [are] more economies and they are not going to sign a free trade area soon, ” the Peruvian official said.

“Investing in human capital, SMEs, their incorporation in the value-added chains are needed. That is what the Asians have done, but in Latin America is [also] very needed,” the official also stated.

He added that Peru, which will host the APEC summit next year is expected to concentrate on quality growth and human development.

“We are going to talk about quality growth and human development, Philippines has talked about inclusive growth and better world, so there will be little change — it is growth which is well-balanced, equitable,” the official said.

He added that the sustainable growth could be achieved only by eliminating inequality and developing human capital.

APEC was established in 1989 and comprises 21 nations, including the United States, China and Russia. (PNA/Sputnik)