Duterte takes swipe at US over TPP collapse
MARY HO, 81-year-old Singaporean guitarist MANILA: Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte yesterday took a swipe at the United States’ retreat from a major free trade deal, joining Asian nations at a forum this week in criticising rising protectionism.
Until recently, China and the US were both pushing sweeping free trade deals that excluded each other.
But shortly after taking office in Jan- uary, US President Donald Trump withdrew from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), which he described as a “job killer”.
The move delivered a hammer blow to the 11 other nations who spent seven years negotiating what was billed as the world’s largest trade deal.
During a speech celebrating the 50th anniversary of Asean here, Duterte gave his backing to a planned trade pact backed by China known as the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP).
“Asean has a bigger stake than any part of the world in standing up against protectionism and securing the rules of the game in the international trade.”
RCEP, he said, “will provide further impetus to our efforts”, adding that he hoped negotiations on the Beijing-led deal “should conclude swiftly”.
He then added a jab over TPP’s collapse.
“I’m reminded that the Transpacific, it was a dream, is no longer there,” he said.
Before Trump’s withdrawal, TPP would have covered 40 per cent of the global economy. AFP