China pushes Asia-Pacific trade deals as Trump win dashes TPP hopes


China's President Xi Jinping waves as he arrives at a news conference after the closing of G20 Summit in Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province, China, September 5, 2016. REUTERS/Damir Sagolj

China’s President Xi Jinping waves as he arrives at a news conference after the closing of G20 Summit in Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province, China, September 5, 2016. REUTERS/Damir Sagolj

China will seek support for a Beijing-led Asia-Pacific free trade area at a regional summit in Peru later this month, Chinese officials said on Thursday, after Donald Trump’s U.S. election win dashed hopes for a U.S.-led free trade pact.

During his election campaign Trump took a protectionist stance on trade issues and labeled the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) championed by President Barack Obama a “disaster”. There is now little chance of it coming up for vote in Washington before his inauguration in January.

Obama had framed TPP, which excluded China, as an effort to write Asia’s trade rules before Beijing could, establishing U.S. economic leadership in the region as part of his “pivot to Asia”.

Briefing journalists ahead of President Xi Jinping’s departure for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in Peru from Nov. 19-20, China’s Vice Foreign Minister Li Baodong warned of the rise of protectionism and said the region needed a free trade agreement as soon as possible.

“Trade and investment protectionism is rearing its head, and Asia-Pacific faces insufficient momentum for internal growth, and difficulties in advancing reforms,” Li said.

“China believes we should set a new and very practical working plan, to positively respond to the expectations of industry, and sustain momentum and establish a free trade area in Asia-Pacific at an early date,” Li said.

Aside from Peru, Xi will also make state visits to Chile and Ecuador during a week-long trip to Latin America. Peru and Chile are both party to the now endangered TPP.

China has proposed the Free Trade Area of the Asia Pacific (FTAAP) and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), which some observers see as competitors to the TPP.

Li said Xi’s attendance showed China’s “confidence in promoting the FTAAP process”.

“China is always positively advancing work on its own regional free-trade strategy. We, indeed, are continuously and positively advancing RCEP negotiations,” China’s deputy international trade representative Zhang Xiangchen told the briefing.

RCEP groups the 10 members of the Association of South East Asian Nations plus China, Japan, South Korea, India, Australia and New Zealand, but not the United States.

Beijing had feared the United States would use the TPP to either force it to open markets by signing up or else to isolate it from other regional economies.

Some see the demise of the TPP as an opportunity emerging for Beijing from Trump’s surprise victory, which also brings greater uncertainty for U.S.-China relations and the regional balance of power.

Ruan Zongze, a former Chinese diplomat now with the China Institute of International Studies, said the TPP would be the “first casualty” of Trump’s election.

Since China isn’t in that bloc, we don’t have anything to lose,” Ruan said.

(Reporting by Michael Martina; Additional reporting by Sue-Lin Wong; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore)

Source: Reuters “China pushes Asia-Pacific trade deals as Trump win dashes TPP hopes”

Note: This is Reuters report I post here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the report’ views.

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3 Comments on “China pushes Asia-Pacific trade deals as Trump win dashes TPP hopes”

  1. EASTERN LOOKING GLASS says:

    The Republicans have become the working man’s democratic party while the Democratic National Congress had been hijacked by Republican wolves. Mr Donal Trump seems a man learning and growing into his job, that much is clear over the 1-2 year election campaigning. So there is hope. No one wants a criminal like an extreme pychopathic Hillary in any top seat of power and influence in ANY country.

    As for Mr Xi and China’s economy, have faith Mr Xi, China’s economy is big enough to spark a nuclear fusion and allow it to sustain its growth and and a “life” of it’s own without external trade if necessary.

    All you need to do is improve on the economy and make incremental improvements and back to basics while moving away from the mismanagement examples so obvious by the U.S., U.K and Europe. Move away too from the debt laden economy. As I have said before, a number of years back now, plan for the robotization in manufacuring and service – what kind of new roles, jobs and knowledge required for the new era; What kind of university and vocational training and education will be needed? How the socio-economic and perhaps political environment and structure need to be re-tooled perhaps?

    And as I have stated also, in this new robotized era, universal basic income will be necessary to take the Chinese society to a whole new level where the most vulnerable, in fact NO ONE, in the society need worry about their next meal or meeting their basic needs. Even Elon Musk have come to the same conclusion. Switzerland’s referendum results, in my opinion, does NOT reflect the world’s opinion and what’s to come. In fact, this new future world WILL be most suitable for most country, particularly developing countries if their governments understand and know how to manage it. Mr Duterte will like the idea I am sure but of course, I am taking of such developments for the next 70 years. However, the planning and changes begins NOW.

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    • EASTERN LOOKING GLASS says:

      Yes, this new future world will be even more imminent in view of increasing global protectionism. Mr Xi and his team must surely realize China’s size alone is a cause of this, so learn to accept this reality and steer your ship accordingly. Be even the trail blazer!

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  2. Steve says:

    Have never seen so many thousands of Americans not wanting a brand newly elected US President. Don’t think Trump is anything like George Bush with its Iraq sponsored genocide.

    If TPP is dead, China shall now continue its rise to the Zenith. President Obama has lost just about everything, its pivot to Asia, lost alliances and now TPP. Two tongue Singapore will be lost for directions.

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