Apec leaders to address unfair trade practices

Apec leaders to address unfair trade practices

The US president described a world in which countries compete for advantage one against one without the mediation of large-scale trading deals.

President Donald Trump pitched his "America First" trade policy to world leaders at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum in Danang, Vietnam on Friday, saying, "We are not going to let the United States be taken advantage of anymore".

Those trade talks took place on the sidelines of APEC summitry: ceremonial arrivals in bright tailored shirts to a gala banquet, a closed-door retreat and scores of bilateral meetings between the 21 leaders attending the event in this coastal resort city. By expanding Asia's geographic net to include the world's largest democracy, this larger region encompasses a greater balance favoring rule of law, freedom of navigation, open trade, and democracy.

It is worth noting that the Trump administration's engagement with Asia at the presidential and cabinet levels has matched that of its immediate predecessor, the Obama administration, and provides continuity to America's long "rebalance" or "pivot" to the region.

In a sign of possible competition with China's grand Belt and Road plan, Trump said he would push the World Bank and Asian Development Bank to fund infrastructure development and would reform USA development finance institutions.

The Indo-Pacific idea recognizes that a rising China has become more assertive as well as authoritarian, and it elevates Washington's ties with New Delhi as an alternative model to all that Beijing represents.

Partly to counter China's growing dominance in Asia, Japan had been lobbying hard for the TPP pact, which aims to eliminate tariffs on industrial and farm products across the 11-nation bloc whose trade totaled $356 billion a year ago. "We've been one since the dawn of our republic".

Beyond the wordplay lies both concern and scepticism in Beijing at US attempts to complicate China's strategic domain, particularly by encouraging rival power India to work more closely militarily with Japan. "We have strong and growing ties with India". To elevate India's role, make it a full partner in our Asian network, and enhance Washington's relations with New Delhi, the administration should help India gain a seat at the tables from which it is absent.

Their talks had looked in doubt in the face of last minute resistance from Canada, but ministers announced they were near agreement on a deal they rebaptised the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).

There was no immediate word on Canada's stance.

Of course, we and India need to sort out market access problems and our difficulties with Indian intellectual property rights polices, but these questions are not strategic in nature. We are not containing China? Now, is that going to worry China if India and United States get closer?

The White House did not entirely rule out a discussion, however. If there is a Trump administration legacy on the Asia-Pacific, it might well be a rebalance to the commercial in U.S. -Asia relations. "Obviously it will", said Wilder a former Central Intelligence Agency expert on China. Redressing the balance of trade between Asia and the United States is at the centre of Trump's "America First" policy he says will protect USA workers.

The Trump administration is also going to offer a much closer Defence relationship to India in line with the President's Indo - Pacific Worldview.

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