Sinochem boss dis­misses ‘crazy’ po­lices of Trump

Kuwait Times - - BUSINESS -

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.

Media crit­i­cism

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

—AP

LIMA: Sol­diers guard the mil­i­tary air­port dur­ing the ar­rival of lead­ers that will par­tic­i­pate in the APEC sum­mit in Lima, Peru on Fri­day.

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