APEC leaders urge against protectionism

World Today

Leaders of Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation, APEC, wave during the group photo in Lima, Peru, (AP Photo/Martin Mejia)

Leaders at the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) conference have issued a joint statement endorsing free trade and speaking out against the dangers of protectionism.

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

President Xi at APEC conference

The leaders of half the world’s economy set aside their differences for a traditional APEC staple-the leaders’ group photo. Donning typical Peruvian shawls the world leaders stood shoulder-to-shoulder.

President Xi Jinping stood alongside the host-Peruvian President, Pedro Pablo Kuczynski. U.S. President Barack Obama – on the last stop of his last foreign trip as leader of the world’s largest economy – stood in the back row.

Tough discussions aside, the leaders all agreed on the benefits of free trade. In a final statement Kuczynski said protectionism would hurt the 21 Asia-Pacific economies represented at the conference.

There was clear reference to fears that Obama’s successor, Donald Trump, could change the landscape for trade in the Asia Pacific region.

Speaking at a bilateral meeting between China and the U.S. on Saturday, President Xi not only pledged to open up China’s economy even more in an effort to expand cooperation with the United States.

“Both China and the United States are important member economies in APEC. China stands ready to have more coordination with the U.S. and to work alongside others to make sure the meeting in Peru is a success and to inject new momentum into regional economic cooperation, and the growth of the Asia-Pacific economy,” Chinese President Xi Jinping said.

In his keynote address on Saturday, Xi hinted that Beijing would take the lead in global trade if Washington turns protectionist.

President Xi Jinping pledged he would not shut China’s door to the outside world, but open up more. He said innovation and connectivity were new sources of growth, which would boost open, free trade across the Asia Pacific. China will promote its vision for regional trade through two free trade bloc proposals, one of which excludes the United States.

Monica Whaley speaks with CCTV about APEC.

For more on the APEC meetings, CCTV spoke to Monica Whaley, who is President of the National Center for APEC.