Pacific Rim Leaders Scramble For Trade Options In Trump Era


Chinese President Xi Jinping said Saturday at a summit of Pacific Rim nations that his government will continue developing trade agreements amid concerns about protectionism in the USA and Europe.

Obama has championed the TPP, vowing to write high-standard trade rules for the fast-growing region as the centerpiece of his policy of strategic rebalance to Asia in response to the rise of China, a non-TPP party.

There were three scenarios: Go ahead without the USA with an 11-member TPP, Trump changes his position and accepts the agreed text, or the countries go back to the table and start talks again.

By pledging to renegotiate trade accords such as the North American Free Trade Agreement during election campaign, Trump fueled concerns among numerous United States' trading partners.

Earlier this week Peru suggested the TPP could forge ahead without the United States, and include Russian Federation.

The unremitting push by the Obama administration for the TPP right through this election helped to elect Donald Trump, but Trump has not derailed the TPP - people power united across borders did that.

Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto - whose country has been the target of some of Trump's harshest vitriol - said he would seek "dialogue" with the president-elect to safeguard the neighbors' crucial trade relationship.

What a Trump administration can or will do to try and jumpstart trade and global growth is on the line.

Though most were careful not to criticize Trump directly, leaders at APEC, which ends on Sunday, universally warned of the dangers of turning away from globalisation and free trade.

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Some leaders said TPP could still be saved in some form, although other allies are turning their attention to China's rival plans. In a Pacific region hungry for trade, that has left even longtime USA allies looking to China to fill the void.

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The meeting of APEC, which accounts for almost 40 percent of the world's population and almost 60 percent of the global economy, is US President Barack Obama's last foreign visit before handing over to Trump on January 20.

"Stopping TPP is only one small piece of what we need to do together", she said.

Trump's victory is making it a rocky ride into the sunset for Barack Obama, whose last foreign visit as USA president - to an annual summit of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) group in Lima, Peru - has been full of awkward questions from fellow leaders.

An "analysis" of APEC's summit published in Germany's Deutsche Welle today was called "The United States Isn't Calling the Shots in Peru-China Is".

"We hope to decide the next step with all relevant sides during the APEC summit in Peru to achieve more progress in building up the Asia-Pacific free trade zone".

Alternatives include the Asia-focused Regional Comprehsensive Economic Partnership, which includes both India and China.

He said the Pentagon and Defense Department had argued United States needed to be a leader in that region. Mexican Finance Minister Idelfonso Fajardo said he met with officials from five other signatories to the pact - Australia, Malaysia, New Zealand, Japan and Singapore - on the sidelines of the summit and they agreed to forge ahead regardless of what the new U.S. administration decides.

The demise of TPP will hit especially hard in emerging economies like Vietnam and Malaysia, said Gareth Leather, an economist at consultancy Capital Economics.

It is the first of Mr Key's two-day visit to Peru for the Apec Summit and began with bilateral meetings with fellow TPP leaders Chile's President Michelle Bachelet and Peru President Pedro Pablo Kuczynskil.