Sinochem boss dismisses ‘crazy’ polices of Trump
Global business leaders meeting in Lima think proposals by US President-elect Donald Trump to build a wall along the Mexican border and hike tariffs on Chinese imports are unlikely to happen, said the head of China’s state-run Sinochem on Friday.
“We worried a bit on the incoming US President Donald Trump, and his policies, but I think we basically agree we don’t think he will really build a wall between Mexico and the US, and we don’t think he will really increase import duties on Chinese products,” Ning Gaoning told journalists on the sidelines of a conference of Pacific rim economies.
“We believe countries are rational, and we doubt Mexico will pay for that wall... I don’t think our world will go that crazy.” Trump, a Republican, pulled off a surprise victory in the US presidential election after appealing to voters in states that had long supported Democrats, promising to curb immigration and bring back jobs by renegotiating international trade deals.
His victory vote has exacerbated worries that about the future of free trade and the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade pact, which Trump has criticized. Those are the key themes under discussion in this week’s Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in Peru. But Ning said he remained optimistic that there would not be a “major retreat” on free trade and suggested Trump’s words were little more than rhetoric.
“Due to lack of knowledge and understanding, some people fall for the theories of protectionism,” he said. “Trump said in Michigan that he would create automobile factories and bring the industries back. I don’t think what he said can be delivered.”
Sinochem Group was a monopoly oil and chemicals trader until the early 1990s and has since expanded into oil and gas production, refining, agriculture and real estate.
Chinese state media warned US President-elect Donald Trump on Saturday against flip-flopping on trade deals in Asia, as Asia-Pacific leaders gathered for a summit amid fears that growing protectionism will stunt global economic growth. During the raucous election campaign, Trump fuelled concerns among many of the United States’ trading partners by pledging to renegotiate trade accords such as the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and impose tariffs on imports from countries such as China.
“Turning his trade-bashing campaign talks into actual policies could bash any hope that the Asia-Pacific will finally have its much-wanted free trade deal,” said a commentary in the official Xinhua news agency yesterday.
“Worse, it could drag his country and the wider world into deeper economic distress,” added the agency, which is a barometer of government thinking. Xinhua also said that the exclusion of China from the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) free trade agreement was not about boosting trade and instead was US President Barack Obama’s strategy to make sure Washington “rules supreme in the region.” Obama, Chinese President Xi Jinping and other Pacific Rim leaders are meeting at the annual Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum in Peru this weekend.
Though Obama championed the TPP as a way to counter China’s rise, his administration has now stopped trying to win congressional approval for the deal that was signed by 12 economies in the Americas and Asia-Pacific, but excluded China. Without US approval the agreement as currently negotiated cannot come to fruition. China’s Xi is selling an alternate vision for regional trade by promoting the Beijing-backed Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), which as it stands excludes the Americas. Chinese state media has warned Trump against isolationism and interventionism, calling instead for the United States to actively work with China to maintain the international status quo. “The billionaire-turnedpolitician needs to prove that derailing the global economy has not been one of the reasons why he ran for US president,” Xinhua said. — Reuters
LIMA: Soldiers guard the military airport during the arrival of leaders that will participate in the APEC summit in Lima, Peru on Friday.