Published: Sat, November 17, 2018
Markets | By Otis Pena

Apec leaders at odds over globalisation and free trade

Apec leaders at odds over globalisation and free trade

On Saturday, Pence warned that Trump could still put more tariffs on China.

Apec, a 21-member economic grouping of which Malaysia is part of, comprises both rich and poor nations like the United States, Russia, China, Mexico, and Papua New Guinea.

The President's plane landed at Jacksons International Airport in Port Moresby, the capital of Papua New Guinea which is hosting the November 17-18 meet.

In the absence of Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin, the summit has been relatively low key and the focus has turned to the venue Port Moresby.

"Global growth is shadowed by protectionism and unilateralism", Xi told delegates, saying that erecting barriers and cutting ties was a short-sighted approach doomed to fail. Later, Pence told reporters he was "very hopeful" the USA and China could reach a deal, but "things have to change" for that to happen.

"By withdrawing from multilateral trade agreements and pursuing unilateral tit-for-tat tariffs that are damaging not just for the US 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.

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Pence also took aim at China's construction of manmade islands in the Pacific and its "Belt and Road Initiative", which involves billions of dollars of infrastructure development in Asia, Europe and Africa.

"We filled forms for passes - with the worldwide media - yesterday, around midday, thinking the issue of (airport) access would have been resolved by now. The Intellectual Property Rights regime is designed to protect and encourage innovation not to create or widen the scientific and technological divide", Xi said.

"History has shown that confrontation, whether in the form of a Cold War, hot war, or trade war will produce no winners", Xi said. "We don't drown our partners in a sea of debt, we don't coerce, compromise your independence", Pence said. It is a small country, small economy, but with huge potential.

"Inevitably, in the period ahead, we will be navigating a higher degree of US-China strategic competition", Morrison said in a speech where he navigated a careful line between the alliance with the US and engaging a more assertive China.

"The United States will partner with Papua New Guinea and Australia on their joint initiative at Lombrum Naval Base", he said. "Which direction should we choose?", Xi said.

China's efforts to win friends in the resource-rich Pacific have been watched warily by the traditionally influential powers in the region - Australia and the US.

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