World Economy

APEC Leaders Take a Snipe at Trump

APEC Leaders Take a Snipe at TrumpAPEC Leaders Take a Snipe at Trump

Several US allies took aim at Donald Trump’s views on global trade, while China’s president made an impassioned call against the sort of protectionism favored by the president-elect, at a summit of Asian-Pacific leaders.

The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum is taking place in Peru as world leaders are on edge over Trump’s campaign pledges to protect US jobs by backing out of the not-yet-implemented Trans-Pacific Partnership and renegotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement, AP reported.

Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto said NAFTA helped workers and companies on both sides of the border. He expressed concern that the US could be turning its back on a bilateral trade relationship responsible for moving $1 million worth of goods every minute.

 “In the face of Trump’s positioning, we’re now in a stage of favoring dialogue as a way to build a new agenda in our bilateral relationship,” Pena Nieto told business leaders.

New Zealand’s Prime Minister John Key spoke more bluntly, saying the “tremendous despair” triggered by Trump’s trade views couldn’t be allowed to slow down economic integration by the rest of the world.

“Even if the United States doesn’t want to engage in free trade, President Trump needs to know what other countries do,” Key said.

Chinese President Xi Jinping delivered perhaps the most-forceful defense of free trade, given the size of his economy. He said the best response to rising protectionism would be for APEC’s 21 members to negotiate a free trade area encompassing the entire Pacific Rim.

“Closed and inclusive arrangements are not the right choice,” Xi said, taking a veiled stab at the TPP, which excludes China and is widely seen as an attempt to reassert US dominance in Asia. “Building a free trade area of the Asia-Pacific is a strategic initiative critical for long-term prosperity.”

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