Coun­ter­ing Trump, China’s Xi touts co­op­er­a­tion in Asia-Pa­cific

The lead­ers of the U.S. and China laid out sharply di­ver­gent vi­sions for the fu­ture of global trade on Fri­day, with Xi de­fend­ing glob­al­iza­tion and Trump lav­ish­ing Asi­aPa­cific coun­tries for un­der­cut­ting the U.S. econ­omy

Daily Sabah (Turkey) - - Money -

ASIA PA­CIFIC na­tions must “up­hold mul­ti­lat­er­al­ism”, Chi­nese Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping said on Fri­day, coun­ter­ing U.S. Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s mes­sage at a sum­mit that the United States would stay out of trade deals that sur­ren­der its sovereignty.

Glob­al­iza­tion is an ir­re­versible trend, but the world must work to make it more bal­anced and in­clu­sive, Xi told lead­ers gath­ered in the Viet­namese re­sort city of Danang for the Asia Pa­cific Eco­nomic Co­op­er­a­tion (APEC) meet­ing.

His com­ments came mo­ments af­ter Trump told the same au­di­ence the United States would not tol­er­ate chronic trade abuses from part­ners.

“Should we steer eco­nomic glob­al­iza­tion, or should we dither and stall in the face of chal­lenge? Should we jointly ad­vance re­gional co­op­er­a­tion or should we go our sep­a­rate ways?” Xi asked.

“Open­ness brings progress, while self­seclu­sion leaves one be­hind,” he said.

Dur­ing the past year, Xi has po­si­tioned China as a de­fender of glob­al­i­sa­tion in speeches around the world, con­trast­ing him­self with Trump, who has pur­sued his “Amer­ica First” agenda, and pulled the United States out of the re­gional Tran­sPa­cific Part­ner­ship (TPP) trade deal.

Trump’s pre­de­ces­sor saw the deal as a way for the United States, and not China, to write Asia’s trade rules.

Hav­ing just con­cluded a state visit to China, Trump said the United States was ready to make a bi­lat­eral deal with any coun­try in the Indo-Pa­cific re­gion, but only on the ba­sis of “mu­tual re­spect and mu­tual ben­e­fit”.

He blasted the World Trade Or­ga­ni­za­tion and mul­ti­lat­eral trade deals, and some an­a­lysts ex­pect tougher ac­tion may be im­mi­nent from the White House to fight bi­lat­eral trade im­bal­ances with China ex­ac­er­bated by Bei­jing’s state-led eco­nomic model.

But Xi’s ef­forts to seize the man­tle of free trade have rung hol­low to crit­ics of China, who ar­gue it erects more mar­ket bar­ri­ers to for­eign com­pa­nies, us­ing state-driven in­dus­trial plans, than any ma­jor econ­omy.

In Danang, Xi said China would “sig­nif­i­cantly ease mar­ket ac­cess” for for­eign firms, and all busi­nesses reg­is­tered in China would be treated as equals.

Soon af­ter Trump left Bei­jing, China said it would raise for­eign own­er­ship lim­its in fi­nan­cial firms, a move cau­tiously wel­comed by busi­ness groups as an im­por­tant step in open­ing up a tan­ta­liz­ing multi-tril­lion-dol­lar fi­nan­cial ser­vices mar­ket. The 11 coun­tries still party to the TPP have been looking for a way for­ward for the deal on the side­lines of the APEC meet­ing. Ja­pan had lob­bied hard to pro­ceed with the pact that could also help to con­tain China’s grow­ing re­gional dom­i­nance, as it is not in­volved.

Xi has been sell­ing an al­ter­nate vi­sion for re­gional trade by pro­mot­ing the Bei­jing-backed Re­gional Com­pre­hen­sive Eco­nomic Part­ner­ship (RCEP), which in­cludes Aus­tralia, In­dia and more than a dozen other coun­tries, but not the United States. The RCEP is seen as an al­ter­nate to the TPP for a path to the broader Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pa­cific (FTAAP) that APEC as­pires to.

“We should sup­port the mul­ti­lat­eral trading sys­tem and prac­tice open re­gion­al­ism, to al­low de­vel­op­ing mem­bers to ben­e­fit more from in­ter­na­tional trade and in­vest­ment,” Xi said.

China will speed up ne­go­ti­a­tions with part­ners on free trade pacts, and work for the speedy con­clu­sion of RCEP talks, he added.

U.S. Pres­i­dent Trump (L) and Chi­nese Pres­i­dent Xi (R) shake hands dur­ing a press con­fer­ence at the Great Hall of the Peo­ple, Bei­jing, China, Nov. 9.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Turkey

© PressReader. All rights reserved.