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

    Thailand to legalize medicinal marijuana

    Agencies step up research, confident law will be changed; recreational use to be illegal. Thailand’s GovernmentalPharmaceuticall Organisation (GPO) has begun researching how to develop medicines from marijuana in acknowledgement of evidence that the outlawed substance has health-enhancing properties. It is also seeking to initiate a legal amendment that would permit cannabis for medicinal use, possibly by May next year. GPO chairman Dr Sopon Mekthon yesterday said that with the prospect of marijuana being legalised in certain circumstances, his organisation had begun working with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Narcotics Suppression Bureau to launch a research project on developing and mass-producing medicines from marijuana. The Narcotics Suppression Bureau has already given 100 kilograms of seized marijuana to the GPO as raw material for their resea


    By The Nation (Thailand)
    September 26, 2018

    Curiosity, Economics

    China releases a white paper detailing trade war stance

    White paper warns US actions risk global economic woes. China published a white paper on Sino-US trade frictions on Monday, defending the legitimacy of its positions on trade and innovation practices while accusing the United States of trade bullying and intimidation. The document was released as a new round of tariff hikes between the two sides took effect amid growing concern over undermining global growth. On Monday, new US levies on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods came into force, followed by Beijing’s new tariffs on about $60 billion worth of US imports. It showed that Sino-US tariff tensions that had grown for the past several months had hit a new high point, observers said. On the same day, China released the white paper — The Facts and China’s Position on China-US Trade Friction — which aims to clarify facts about the bilateral economic and trad


    By China Daily
    September 26, 2018

    Curiosity, Economics

    BTS’ motivational UN speech transcends race and gender identity

    In a rare move for K-pop, BTS’ UN speech about self-acceptance embraced everyone including sexual minorities. K-pop sensation BTS embraced self-love and encouraged young people around the world to “speak themselves” regardless of their origin, skin color and gender identity, in a speech at the United Nations General Assembly in New York on Monday. Kim Nam-joon, better known as RM, said, “No matter who you are, where you are from, your skin color, your gender identity, just speak yourself,” expressing support for sexual minorities. The group’s six-minute speech kicked off the launch of the UN’s new youth initiative Generation Unlimited, a program designed to tackle the global education crisis and make education more accessible for young people.


    By The Korea Herald
    September 26, 2018

    Curiosity, Economics

    Cooperating on energy in face of tariffs

    At Houston oil and gas industry forum, US, China executives discuss future. The US energy industry expects a strong long-term energy relationship with China, a US energy official told US and Chinese oil and gas executives the day after China announced a retaliatory 10 per cent tariff on US natural gas. Steve Winberg, US Energy Department assistant secretary for fossil energy, on Wednesday assured the energy executives that the US has never revoked a liquefied natural gas (LNG) export authorization, nor plans to do so. “Some potential exporters and financiers have expressed concern that the US may rescind or revoke LNG export authorization. Let me be very clear that these concerns are unfounded,” Winberg said on Wednesday at the opening of the two-day 18th US-China Oil and Gas Industry Forum in Houston. The forum has been a collaboration of the US Energy Department, Ch


    By Cod Satrusayang
    September 25, 2018

    Curiosity, Economics

    Swift assistance needed to rehabilitate Hokkaido’s quake-stricken industries

    To realize Hokkaido’s post-quake rehabilitation, it is indispensable to rebuild its industries. A half month has passed since the Hokkaido earthquake, which registered the highest level on the Japanese seismic intensity scale of 7. A power blackout that spread to all parts of the prefecture has been resolved. The No. 1 unit at the Tomato-Atsuma thermal power plant — a facility that plays a central role in the supply of electricity there — has been brought back on line. The government has withdrawn its request for power-saving, and neon lighting has returned to flourishing areas in Sapporo. However, scars from the earthquake have not yet healed. Even if the amount of direct damage, including that caused to roads, rivers and forest land, is calculated alone, the figure exceeds ¥150 billion. There are still many disaster victims in evacuation centers. T


    By The Japan News
    September 25, 2018

    Curiosity, Economics

    Disruption seen from auto parts duty in US-China trade war

    US tariffs on Chinese auto parts will probably result in higher prices and could disrupt the global automotive supply chain industry. The Trump administration has imposed a new 10 percent tariff on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods that takes effect on Sept 24. Beginning on Jan 1, the tariffs will increase to 25 percent. China retaliated with $60 billion of new tariffs on US products. The new levies target more than 100 automotive products including engines, gaskets, rubber seals, tires and transmission shafts. Tariffs are basically taxes on the consumer, and all costs increases within the supply chain will eventually be passed along to the consumer, according to Peter Nagle, senior automotive analyst at IHS Markit. “In the short-term, suppliers might absorb some of the cost of the tariff but eventually they will have to raise prices or resource product from elsewhere, which also will rai


    By China Daily
    September 24, 2018