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APEC leaders to meet on trade

Reporter: Dan Collyns 丨 CCTV.com

11-15-2016 10:35 BJT

Full coverage: Xi Visits Ecuador, Peru and Chile, Attends APEC Summit

Chinese President Xi Jinping will head to Peru for the 24th APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting from the November 19 to 20 in the capital Lima.

The Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation or APEC was founded in 1989 and its main purpose has always been the promotion of trade.

As Peru hosts its second APEC conference, two countries dominate these talks: China and the United States.

For China, this is an opportunity to put forward a new trade bloc, the Free Trade Area of the Asia Pacific (FTAAP), a group of Asia-Pacific nations that does not include the United States.

But on a tour of four South American nations last month, Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi said the conference would be about keeping trade open.

“In face of the trend of reverse globalization and the rise of trade protectionism, this year’s APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting should send clear and firm signals to the international community that we should work together to safeguard the global trading system and oppose any form of protectionism,” Wang said.

“China expects that new consensuses could be reached and new actions could be made on the construction process of the FTAAP at this year’s Lima conference.”

Meanwhile, outgoing U.S. President Barack Obama and leaders that signed the controversial Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP), which excludes China will meet outside of the conference to review the future of the deal since the U.S. election.   

The 12-country deal that encompasses nearly 40 percent of the world’s gross domestic product could see resistance from U.S. president-elect Donald Trump who opposes the deal arguing it would hurt American workers. But one expert says APEC is big enough to accommodate several free trade agreements and even conflicting interests.

“What APEC is insisting in the necessity of keeping U.S. and China working together, in avoiding a Pacific divide, avoiding exclusion from of one of the two main economic powers, against the other,” said Fernando Gonzalez Vigil, director of APEC studies, Pacific University, Lima.

Another ambitious multilateral competitor to the TPP to be tabled by China is the Chinese-led Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP). This trade bloc of Asian and Australasian nations that would also include India but leave out APEC’s members in the Americas.

Nonetheless, this gathering will favor Latin America’s Pacific facing nations that form their own increasingly powerful bloc: the Pacific Alliance. The Pacific Alliance is made up of Mexico, Colombia, Chile and Peru, the four countries represent nearly 36 percent of Latin America’s GDP.

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