Beijing’s ambitions for a regional free-trade pact met little success at the latest Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Manila, with leaders in attendance merely expressing support for a strategic study of the China-backed Free Trade Area of the Asia Pacific proposed in 2014, South China Morning Post reported. The declaration came a day after signatories of the US-backed Trans-Pacific Partnership met in the Philippine capital on APEC’s sidelines. The statement also came after Chinese President Xi Jinping warned that rival trade pacts in the Asia-Pacific region might cause “fragmentation” of the regional economy.
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