DANANG, Vietnam – China’s President Xi Jinping championed the cause of globalization on Friday at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum in contrast to US President Donald Trump, who advocated bilateral policies.
“Over the last few decades, economic globalization has contributed significantly to global growth. Indeed, it has become an irreversible historical trend,” Xi said at the APEC leadership meeting held in the central Vietnamese city of Danang.
The Chinese president called for economic globalization that is more open, inclusive, balanced, fair and beneficial for all.
He also called for greater trade integration in the Asia and Pacific region and for global trade based on multilateralism.
Xi spoke of the need for a vision of multilateral trade that allowed developing members greater benefits from trade and investment.
Before Xi’s address, Trump spoke from the same platform, criticizing multilateral agreements such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership – from which he pulled out in January – and advocated bilateral trade agreements based on fairness and reciprocity.
He further spoke against large scale agreements which “tied our hands and surrendered our sovereignty.”
“Many opportunities for mutually beneficial investments were lost because people could not trust the system. We can no longer tolerate these chronic trade abuses, and we will not tolerate them,” Trump said.
The US president claimed that in the past the US opened its economy without imposing any conditions but this attitude was not reciprocated, and denounced that the World Trade Organization had admitted members who did not follow the rules of the institution.
The APEC, founded in 1989, has agreed to establish a free trade network between its 21 member economies by 2020.
The APEC is made up of Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, China, South Korea, the United States, the Philippines, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Peru, Russia, Singapore, Chinese Taipei, Thailand and Vietnam.
The bloc accounts for 59 percent of global GDP, 49 percent of global trade and constitutes a market of around 2.85 billion consumers.