See More on Facebook

Curiosity, Economics

APEC nations divided over statement on protectionism

Representatives of the APEC members hold a press conference following the trade ministers’ meeting in Port Moresby on Saturday but did not address concerns over protectionism.


Written by

Updated: May 28, 2018

Trade ministers from the 21-member Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum wrapped up a two-day meeting in Papua New Guinea’s capital on Saturday, but did not include language critical of protectionism in their joint statement.

Disagreements on trade policy ultimately led the language to be omitted from the joint statement, which requires unanimous approval.

A “commitment to fight against protectionist measures” was instead included in the chairman’s statement, which reflects majority opinion among the member states.

In the joint statement, the trade ministers said they “urgently call for the removal of market-distorting subsidies” by governments and related entities, but did not refer to opposition to protectionism.

    The chairman’s statement specified a “commitment to fight against and to rollback protectionist and trade distorting measures,” and also emphasized the importance of “the effective and timely enforcement of WTO [World Trade Organization] rules.”

    A source involved with the negotiations attributed the gridlock over the joint statement to “U.S. and Chinese obstinacy on the wording.”

    In response, Papua New Guinea Foreign Affairs and Trade Minister Rimbink Pato, who chaired the meeting, offered a compromise reflecting the two countries’ stances in which the wording would be omitted from the joint statement but included in the chairman’s statement.

    The United States has imposed restrictions on steel and aluminum imports, while China has countered with tariffs on U.S. products.

    As part of an ongoing trade dialogue, the United States has held off on imposing tariffs in response to China’s infringement of intellectual property rights, but friction persists between the two countries.

    Japan and other countries targeted by the U.S. steel restrictions have called for a level-headed response to the move in line with WTO procedures.

    At the meeting, China’s Vice Minister of Commerce Wang Shouwen criticized the United States, saying that China has upheld the WTO’s authority and opposes protectionism and unilateralism.

    The United States in turn defended the legitimacy of its trade policies.

    State Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Kosaburo Nishime, who represented Japan at the meeting, said, “Amid the difficult realities facing the global economy, there have been market-distorting measures,” implicitly criticizing the Chinese government’s excessive subsidies and preferential treatment of state companies.

    Should U.S.-China trade friction grow more severe, other countries could be affected by a contraction in trade.

    The United States is considering new tariffs on automobile imports for national security reasons, prompting concerns over the impact of such a move on global trade.

    However, the APEC trade ministers’ meeting did not produce effective countermeasures.

    At last year’s trade ministers’ meeting, only a chairman’s statement was issued due to U.S. objections to wording in the joint statement.



    Enjoyed this story? Share it.


    The Japan News
    About the Author: The Japan News is published by The Yomiuri Shimbun, which boasts the largest circulation in the world.

    Eastern Briefings

    All you need to know about Asia


    Our Eastern Briefings Newsletter presents curated stories from 22 Asian newspapers from South, Southeast and Northeast Asia.

    Sign up and stay updated with the latest news.



    By providing us with your email address, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.

    View Today's Newsletter Here

    Curiosity, Economics

    South Korea urges region to embrace multilateralism, free trade

    Wide gap remains after bilateral meeting of Kang and Kono. The foreign ministers of South Korea and Japan remained at odds in their bilateral meeting held in China on Wednesday, reiterating their respective stances on Tokyo’s wartime forced labor and trade curbs. Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha and her Japanese counterpart, Taro Kono, met for 35 minutes on the sidelines of a trilateral meeting with their Chinese counterpart, Wang Yi, in Gubei Water Town near the Great Wall in northern Beijing. “Kang strongly urged Kono to retract the country’s decision to remove South Korea from its “whitelist” of countries with fast-track trade status u


    By The Korea Herald
    August 22, 2019

    Curiosity, Economics

    India successfully places probe in moon’s orbit

    Landing attempt will take place on September 7. In a significant step for India’s moon mission, Chandrayaan-2 spacecraft was successfully placed in the moon’s orbit on Tuesday in a nerve-wracking manoeuvre, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) said. According to the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), the Lunar Orbit Insertion (LOI) was completed successfully at 9.02 am as planned using the onboard propulsion system. All the systems of Chandrayaan-2 are healthy. “The duration of manoeuvre was 1,738 seconds. With this, Chandrayaan-2 was successfully inserted into a lunar orbit. The orbit achieved is 114km X 18,072km,” the ISRO said. The 3,850-kg Chandrayaan-2, a three-module spacecraft comprising an orbiter, Lander Vikram and rover, which was launched on July 22, will make a soft-land on the moon on September 7. The process of setting down Chandrayaan 2 on the Moon i


    By The Statesman
    August 21, 2019

    Curiosity, Economics

    Ho Chi Minh attracts nearly 4 billion USD in investment in 2019

    Manufacturing and textiles among key sectors. HCM City attracted about US$3.63 billion of foreign direct investment (FDI) capital in the first seven months of this year, marking a year-on-year increase of 15.2 per cent, according to the municipal People’s Committee. Nearly $688.8 million came from 678 newly registered projects, up 26.9 per cent in value and 18.3 per cent in the number of projects from the same period last year. In the period, 2,668 foreign investors bought shares and acquired stakes of domestic enterprises with total registered capital of $2.6 billion, 28.3 per cent and 16.7 per cent higher respectively than in the same period last year. Meanwhile, HCM City granted business licences to 24,529 new domestic enterprises worth more than VND396 trillion ($17 billion), up 0.9 per cent and 25.7 per cent, respectively. Up to 71,874 existing enterprises were allowed to add a c


    By Viet Nam News
    August 20, 2019

    Curiosity, Economics

    Taiwan raises 2019 GDP growth forecast

    GDP growth raised on investment data. Taiwan has raised its forecast for gross domestic product (GDP) growth for 2019, reflecting increased investment in Taiwan by local suppliers looking to steer clear of the trade dispute between the United States and China. The Directorate General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics (DGBAS) said in a statement Friday that it has revised its estimate for GDP growth in 2019 to 2.46 percent, up 0.27 percentage points from its previous forecast in May. A big factor in the revision was increased investment at home by Taiwan-based companies operating in China that wanted to increase their production capacity in Taiwan to avoid punitive tariffs imposed by the United States on goods made in China, the DGBAS said. The trade dispute has also prompted a shakeup in the global electronics supply chain, leading to more production capacity in Taiwan, the DGBAS said.


    By ANN Members
    August 19, 2019

    Curiosity, Economics

    Signs of global recession haunt S. Korean economy

    Trade wars and economic disputes have harmed the economy. A shadow of global recession looms over key economies as major markets have been dealing with some of their worst days in recent weeks. This is sparking concerns that chances of recession may also be growing on home turf, in South Korea. Last week, the yields on US 10-year Treasurys fell below two-year yields for the first time since 2007 – a phenomenon known as an inverted yield curve. Investors and experts alike are regarding such trend with wariness — every recession in the last 60 years has been preceded by the yield curve inversions. “Every time the US 10-year Treasuries fell below two-year yields, an economic recession came within a time frame of 18 months, which is why we have to be concerned,” Kong Dong-rak, an analyst at Daishin Securities said. “Even if it does not result in a recession, it is definitely a strong si


    By The Korea Herald
    August 19, 2019

    Curiosity, Economics

    Hong Kong adds another dimension to US-China trade war

    Hong Kong’s has become another consideration for Xi and Trump in their ongoing trade dispute. The United States and China have been embroiled in a trade war for almost two years with reciprocal tariffs and fiery rhetoric coming from both sides. Both economies have suffered and the world’s two largest economies both face the looming threat of recession. China, in addition to a tenuous economic situation is also facing more woes in Hong Kong, a Chinese territory that is self-governed. Protesters have taken to the streets in the island-territory after a proposed extradition law was publicly opposed. The protests have evolved beyond the initial grievances to long-held anxieties over the economy, living space and, ultimately, rule by Beijing. As the pro-democracy protests gather steam and threaten to become more widespread and violent, the United States has involved itself and ad


    By Cod Satrusayang
    August 16, 2019