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China hopes to finish drafting APEC roadmap for free trade ASAP: official

December 19 , 2014 -- Updated 9:12 GMT

China hopes APEC will play a coordinating role in establishing the Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific (FTAAP), a Chinese official said Tuesday.

The country seeks implementation of an APEC information exchange for free trade areas to increase transparency and facilitate interaction among the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement members and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, Wang Shouwen, assistant minister of commerce, told a press conference.

China also hopes concerned parties will strengthen research on the FTAAP and build the FTAAP's negotiation capacity to lay a foundation for the eventual integration of the Asia-Pacific region, Wang said.

He reiterated China's stance of opposing trade protectionism in all its forms.

China will work to encourage all parties to agree on the extension -- from 2016 to 2018 -- of the commitment reached by APEC leaders previously that any side should not raise new trade and investment barriers, Wang added.

A statement issued after an APEC ministerial meeting in China's eastern city of Qingdao in May said the FTAAP roadmap is expected to be finalized within the year, eight years after the idea of a free trade area of APEC economies was first proposed.

Established in 1989, APEC has played a significant role in driving global and regional economic growth. Its 21 members contributed approximately 57 percent of the world's GDP and 46 percent of world trade last year.

China is APEC host this year. A series of APEC meetings bearing the theme "Shaping the Future through Asia-Pacific Partnership" will be held from Nov. 5 to 11 in Beijing.