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China will consider joining the landmark 11 countries free trade pact (TPP) that slashes tariffs for the Asia Pacific, Chinese President Xi Jinping said at 27th Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Economic Leaders’ Meeting. The US had formally withdrawn from the deal in 2016 after newly elected US President Donald Trump cited the trade agreement as “bad for the American jobs.” China is now seeking to be a part of the transpacific trade alliance, a linchpin for Barack Obama’s administration to counter China’s growth in the Asia Pacific and influence the global rules of commerce.
President Xi Jinping attended the 27th Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Economic Leaders’ Meeting via video conference upon invitation by Malaysian Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin. He signed the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), a free trade pact with ASEAN nations, China, Australia, Japan, New Zealand, and South Korea as signatories.
Follow the live broadcast of the launch of APEC Post-2020 Vision & the APEC 2021 Symbolic Handover Ceremony to New Zealand at 10pm between the Prime Minister of Malaysia, YAB Tan Sri Dato ‘Haji Muhyiddin bin Haji Mohd Yassin & the Prime Minister of New Zealand, Jacinda Ardern. pic.twitter.com/kV2EOHt8Oi
— #MyAPEC2020 (@MyAPEC2020) November 20, 2020
In the meeting, Xi said, that while China welcomes the signing of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), it will “favourably consider joining” the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP). China took a lead role in the negotiations of the RCEP trade pact which was abandoned by India in 2019. The United States, meanwhile, never joined the pact under the leadership of President Donald Trump as President Trump favoured United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) for The North American Free Trade. “USMCA is a great deal, solves the many deficiencies and mistakes in NAFTA, greatly opens markets to our farmers and manufacturers, reduces trade barriers to the US,” Trump said.
The APEC Economic Leaders issued the Kuala Lumpur Declaration underscoring their commitment to recovery from the pandemic along the lines of sustainable, inclusive and resilient economic growth for the Asia-Pacific region. @MyAPEC2020#MyAPEC2020
— APEC Secretariat (@APEC) November 20, 2020
‘Free trade’ across the Asia-Pacific region
Addressing the nations at the virtual meeting to encourage free trade across the Asia-Pacific region, China’s President Xi Jinping said that the countries must initiate the collaborative efforts at an early date to promote regional economic integration and establish an Asia-Pacific free trade zone. Further, he urged the nations for free and predictable trade at the challenging times of the pandemic, adding, that the Asia-Pacific region must uphold peace and stability, multilateralism, and shall foster an open world economy.
Meanwhile, Malaysian Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin said that the countries must navigate the region constructively to achieve a robust, inclusive, and sustainable economic recovery from the global pandemic crisis that impacted trade and commerce. At the 27th APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting, countries laid down the APEC Putrajaya Vision 2040 for regional integration, and an open, dynamic, resilient, and peaceful Asia-Pacific community by 2040.
(Image Credit: Twitter/@APECSecretariat)