At APEC, Chinese President Xi Jinping urges against protectionism

World Today

At APEC, Chinese President Xi Jinping urges against protectionism

Chinese President Xi Jinping delivered a forceful defense of free trade on Saturday during the keynote address at the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) leaders’ forum in Peru, where he called for free trade and spoke out against the dangers of protectionism.

CCTV’s Dan Collyns reports from the conference in Lima.

President Xi and President Obama APEC meeting

President Xi and President Obama APEC meeting

President Xi Jinping delivered a strong message in favor of open and free trade, saying that the Asia Pacific region must lead the way in the face of slowing global growth and a rising trend of protectionism.

“We need to commit ourselves to build a community with a shared future. And that should oblige us to come closer together than move apart. We ought to continue deepening and expanding the cooperation in our region. We ought to build a common platform, establish common rules and share the results of our development. Any attempt to exclude any of us should be rejected,” President Xi said during the remarks.

Xi said Beijing would spearhead a free trade area for all 21 APEC members, adding “China will not shut its door to the outside world but open more.”

His speech echoed other leaders’ endorsements of free trade amid fears about a backlash against globalization. Pedro Pablo Kuczynski, President of Peru, said “protectionist tendencies are taking over, and for anybody who wants to promote protection I suggest they read an economic history of the 1930’s.”

At a time of uncertainty about the United States future commitment to free trade, President Xi’s speech sent a message – loud and clear – that China would continue be a driving force behind the global economy and trade in the Asia-Pacific region.

U.S. President-elect Donald Trump has opposed the Trans Pacific Partnership – a trade deal which includes 12 APEC members but excludes China. It is expected to be a topic of discussion at a bilateral meeting between the leaders of the world’s largest economies, President Barack Obama and President Xi.

“I think the role of leading vision for the Asia-Pacific I think is one now that China really has the opportunity to play because with the withdrawal perhaps of the imminence of passage of the TPP, there really isn’t a competing vision at this point that seems to be prominent. So China is able to fill that vacuum, and I think this meeting here in Peru is an opportunity to do that,” said Eric Farnsworth, of the Council of the Americas.

President Xi is combining his attendance at the APEC leaders meeting with his third visit to Latin America since 2013.

At a time of uncertainty about the future of U.S. policy in the Asia-Pacific and Latin America, it’s a chance for Beijing to deepen its influence in the backyard of the Americas.

Eric Farnsworth speaks with CCTV about the APEC meetings.

For more on the APEC meetings, CCTV America’s Dan Collyns spoke to Eric Farnsworth of the Council of the Americas.