Sunday, 16 December, 2018

Protectionism 'doomed to failure', Xi Jinping says in swipe at US

A women's shelter in Goroka Papua New Guinea A women's shelter in Goroka Papua New Guinea Oct. 26
Kelvin Reese | 17 November, 2018, 17:09

Ahead of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit on Saturday, Chinese President Xi Jinping was first to speak and said there would be no winners from a trade war or a new Cold War.

The Chengdu Railway Port in southwest China connects with 14 cities along the route of the "Belt and Road" initiative.

Pence warned Saturday that U.S. sanctions and pressure on China would remain in place until Beijing reforms its trade practices.

He also warned that the USA could double the tariffs already imposed on Chinese goods.

"The benefits of free and fair trade and economic integration have been ruptured, exemplified by Brexit and trade wars between major economies", he said.

Trump and Xi are due to meet at a G20 meeting in Argentina late this month, raising some hope that trade tension could ease. But Pence stressed Saturday that the USA won't back off. The US has so far imposed tariffs on $250 billion in Chinese imports. Pence reiterated Trump administration threats to more than double the penalties.

"We hope for better, but the United States will not change course until China changes its ways". Later, Pence told reporters he was "very hopeful" the US and China could reach a deal, but "things have to change" for that to happen.

"We don't drown our partners in a sea of debt..."

China has denied that USA companies are forced to transfer technology and sees US demands on rolling back its industrial policies as an attempt to contain China's economic rise. "So, I don't think there's a timetable".

He will also miss the Leaders' Retreat and the Leaders' Working Lunch.

Xi reminded the audience that Papua New Guinea, a Pacific nation that has been the recipient of large amounts of aid and loans from Beijing, played an important role during World War II.

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Still, while USA allies like Australia welcome American firepower in the region, they also worry about its tactics on trade.

Speaking at the same forum, Australia's prime minister also issued a passionate defence of free trade and lashed out at protectionist trends battering the global economy.

"The trade war between the USA and China has amplified further the disruption to our trade and commerce".

Xi said the world should "uphold the WTO-centred multilateral trading system, make economic globalisation more open, inclusive, balanced and beneficial to all".

China and the United States have been locked in an escalating trade war since Trump was elected in 2016.

"By withdrawing from multilateral trade agreements and pursuing unilateral tit-for-tat tariffs that are damaging not just for the USA and China, but for the broader regional and global trading system, the Trump administration is putting itself at odds with America's Asian allies and partners", he said.

Xi, who spoke before Pence, anticipated numerous USA criticisms in his speech.

Trudeau said the island leaders want to frame themselves as key players in the Pacific region - both environmentally and economically. He said the USA was working to improve relations with Beijing, and pointed to Trump's upcoming meeting with Xi as an opportunity for progress.

But the White House confirmed that Mr Pence would instead spend the night in the Pacific island nation, shrugging off its reputation for violence and petty crime.

"They (China) are looking at creating long-term deals and guarantees with these smaller countries to extend their own commercial, military and hegemonic interest", said Shuvaloy Majumdar with the Macdonald-Laurier Institute, and a former Conservative government policy advisor.

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