APEC 2014 ·
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Trade agreement showdown at Beijing summit

THE race is on between the United States and China to dominate the rules-setting game for trade by being the first to be able to announce plans for a free trade area in the Pacific Rim. China hopes to use its position as this year's chair of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) forum to propose a feasibility study on a Free Trade Agreement for the Asia-Pacific (FTAAP), first mooted in 2006. In other words, negotiations towards an FTAAP would commence, for all practical purposes.

But if the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) can be concluded, or substantial and credible progress demonstrated so that an impressive announcement can be made at the Apec meeting in Beijing this week, the US would...

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