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China to Work With Asia to Secure World Trade, Ex-PBOC Head Says

Joyce Koh

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China will work with other Asian countries to safeguard international trade rules, as well as the monetary and financial order, according to its former central bank Governor Zhou Xiaochuan.

The country is determined to uphold multilateralism, and is accelerating the pace of its opening-up to integrate more completely into the global economy, Zhou said Saturday at the Singapore Summit conference. It will also continue to build the Belt and Road Initiative with Asian counterparts.

“The latest months of 2019 have witnessed many twists and turns and escalating trade sanctions,” said Zhou. “We sincerely hope that the trade negotiations, which just renewed and will have significant talks in October, can help narrow divergence and get discussions back on track.”

The ongoing trade war between the U.S. and China has roiled global markets and worsened in May when talks broke down. Officials on both sides held discussions in Washington this week with the aim of setting up high-level talks around Oct. 10.

China is also promoting the conclusion of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership negotiations in the region, Zhou said. The 16 members of the RCEP, a pan-Asian trade agreement encompassing nearly a third of all global trade, have been eyeing November as a tentative deadline to close the deal after seven years of talks. But negotiations have been mired in disagreements around market access and the ability of workers to find employment in other countries.

“Trade protectionism is not the answer to the deep-rooted economic and social problems facing each country,” Zhou said. “At this dire moment, the international community needs to step up efforts to defend multilateralism, enhance global governance and preserve the rule-based international order.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Joyce Koh in Singapore at jkoh38@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Shamim Adam at sadam2@bloomberg.net, Joyce Koh

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