Xi re­news ‘open econ­omy’ pledge

Trump send dif­fer­ent mes­sage with ‘Amer­ica First’ pol­icy

Global Times - Weekend - - FRONT PAGE - By Bai Tiantian in Da Nang and Liu Xin in Bei­jing

Chi­nese Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping on Fri­day called glob­al­iza­tion an “ir­re­versible his­tor­i­cal trend” in his APEC key­note speech, reaf­firm­ing China’s com­mit­ment to an open econ­omy and mul­ti­lat­eral trade sys­tem.

Xi’s speech came af­ter US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s “Amer­ica First” ad­dress where he vowed to pro­tect the US from be­ing taken ad­van­tage of.

“Over the last few decades, eco­nomic glob­al­iza­tion has con­trib­uted greatly to global growth. In­deed, it has be­come an ir­re­versible his­tor­i­cal trend. Against the back­drop of evolv­ing global devel­op­ments, eco­nomic glob­al­iza­tion faces new ad­just­ments in both form and sub­stance. In pur­su­ing eco­nomic glob­al­iza­tion, we should make it more open and in­clu­sive, more bal­anced, more eq­ui­table and ben­e­fi­cial to all,” Xi said.

Xi stressed the im­por-

tance of an open econ­omy that benefits all.

“Open­ness brings progress, while self-seclu­sion leaves one be­hind,” Xi said. “We should put in place a regional co­op­er­a­tion frame­work that en­sures con­sul­ta­tion among equals, wide par­tic­i­pa­tion and shared benefits, build an open Asia-Pa­cific econ­omy and pro­mote trade and in­vest­ment lib­er­al­iza­tion and fa­cil­i­ta­tion.”

He said the build­ing of a Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pa­cific (FTAAP) is the long-cher­ished dream of the busi­ness com­mu­nity in our re­gion.

Chen Dingding, a pro­fes­sor of In­ter­na­tional Re­la­tions at Ji’nan Uni­ver­sity, told the Global Times that “China has ben­e­fit­ted greatly from the mul­ti­lat­eral trade sys­tem. The coun­try joined APEC in 1991 and with the help of APEC, China’s econ­omy fur­ther lib­er­al­ized and even­tu­ally be­came a mem­ber of the WTO.”

Chen said Xi’s APEC speech is very much in line with his re­port to the 19th Com­mu­nist Party of China (CPC) Na­tional Congress.

“Xi has re­peat­edly voiced his op­po­si­tion to pro­tec­tion­ism at mul­ti­ple oc­ca­sions. This shows China pays great at­ten­tion to open­ness and glob­al­iza­tion at the very top,” Chen noted.

Dif­fer­ent mes­sages

Mean­while, Trump’s speech on Fri­day sent a dras­ti­cally dif­fer­ent mes­sage.

“I am al­ways go­ing to put Amer­ica first, the same way I ex­pect all of you in this room to put your coun­tries first,” Trump said.

Trump said the US will no longer pur­sue mul­ti­lat­eral trade agree­ments “that tie our hands, sur­ren­der our sovereignty and make mean­ing­ful en­force­ment prac­ti­cally im­pos­si­ble.”

“The cur­rent trade im­bal­ance is not ac­cept­able,” Trump said. “I do not blame China, or any other coun­try, of which there are many, for tak­ing ad­van­tage of the US on trade. If their rep­re­sen­ta­tives are able to get away with it, they are just do­ing their jobs.”

“I wish pre­vi­ous ad­min­is­tra­tions in my coun­try saw what was hap­pen­ing and did some­thing about it,” Trump said.

Li Haidong, a pro­fes­sor at China For­eign Af­fairs Uni­ver­sity’s In­sti­tute of In­ter­na­tional Re­la­tions, told the Global Times on Fri­day that “the two dif­fer­ent speeches high­light the dif­fer­ent ar­range­ments of China and the US on a trade mech­a­nism in­volv­ing the Asia-Pa­cific re­gion. In gen­eral, China’s stance on mul­ti­lat­eral trade sys­tem and an open econ­omy is sup­ported by a ma­jor­ity of the coun­tries in the re­gion.”

Li said it is not un­com­mon for two coun­tries to have di­ver­gent opin­ions but “when China and the US have such di­ver­gence, other coun­tries need to choose what to do based on their own na­tional in­ter­est.”

An­a­lysts said Trump’s op­po­si­tion to a mul­ti­lat­eral trade sys­tem could hin­der the de­vel­op­ment of FTAAP.

Aborted meet­ing

Also in Da Nang a planned meet­ing of lead­ers of the 11 coun­tries in the Trans-Pa­cific Part­ner­ship (TPP) failed to ma­te­ri­al­ize on Fri­day, Reuters re­ported.

The lead­ers were set to meet in the af­ter­noon on the side­lines of the Asia-Pa­cific Eco­nomic Co­op­er­a­tion (APEC) summit to dis­cuss how to push ahead with the TPP, af­ter the United States pulled out this year.

“The meet­ing did not hap­pen, work re­mains to be done and that’s what’s hap­pen­ing now,” a Cana­dian of­fi­cial said.

Photo: AFP

Chi­nese Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping on Fri­day meets Rus­sian Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin on the side­lines of the APEC in Da Nang, Viet­nam. Xi called Rus­sia a “strate­gic part­ner of gen­uine mu­tual trust.” (see edi­to­rial on page 5)

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