China is taking issue with some of the goals set by the United States for this year's leaders' meeting of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum, which takes place later this week in Hawaii.
Chinese Assistant Foreign Minister Wu Hailong says America's decision to host the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation forum in President Obama's home state of Hawaii shows seriousness. At the same time, he questions how realistic some of the goals are.
Wu says U.S.-designated priorities for the forum - green growth, regulatory cooperation, energy and innovation - have been welcomed by all parties. But he says the goals set out by Washington are too ambitious and beyond the reach of developing economies.
Some of the specific areas he says China is concerned about include lowering tariffs on environmental goods that could include renewable energy and waste recycling. He says there are also concerns about lowering energy intensity targets - which measure a country's energy consumption versus its economic output.
U.S. officials are highlighting APEC as a forum for boosting economic ties among member states.
But Chinese Assistant Finance Minister Yu Jianhua points out that APEC is a non-binding forum, and so goals that are set there should accommodate the comfort-level and readiness of all members.
The Chinese official also expressed China's reservations about the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a trade pact being negotiating on the sidelines of the meeting by nine APEC members.
Yu calls on members to strike a balance between the TPP and already existing multilateral trading mechanisms. He says he thinks the multilateral regimes should be the major channel, and that regional mechanisms should be a supplement, rather than a replacement.
The United States has been instrumental in pushing for the realization of the TPP, which aims to remove all tariffs between member countries within 10 years. Speaking about the agreement last week, U.S. Deputy Secretary of State William Burns says the aim is to forge stronger links between the Americas and Asia.
“The goal of the cutting-edge TPP is to unite Peru, Chile, and the United States with New Zealand, Australia, Malaysia, Vietnam, Singapore, Brunei and eventually future members, in a single trading community, using the highest standards,” Burns stated.
Japan is still trying to decide whether to join the TPP negotiations despite opposition from its powerful farm sector. When Chinese officials were asked Monday whether Beijing would join the regional trade agreement, they said China has not received an invitation.