Published: Sat, November 17, 2018
Finance | By Loren Pratt

Duterte to skip last day of APEC summit

Duterte to skip last day of APEC summit

The United States will not back down from its trade dispute with China, and might even double its tariffs, unless Beijing bows to US demands, Vice President Mike Pence said on Saturday.

In a major speech, Xi also stressed that there would be no winners from a trade war or a new cold war amid increasing rivalry between the world's top two economies.

Protectionism and unilateralism were overshadowing global growth, and a policy of erecting economic barriers was doomed to fail, Xi said.

"This is a short-sighted approach and it is doomed to failure", Xi told business leaders on the sidelines of the summit".

"By withdrawing from multilateral trade agreements and pursuing unilateral tit-for-tat tariffs that are damaging not just for the USA and China, but for the broader regional and global trading system, the Trump administration is putting itself at odds with America's Asian allies and partners", he said.

APEC members the U.S. and China have become embroiled in a trade war that experts warn could be catastrophic for the global economy, with the world's top two powers going head to head.

Both sides have said the tariffs, already totalling billions of dollars, can still be increased.

Xi said the world should "uphold the WTO-centred multilateral trading system, make economic globalisation more open, inclusive, balanced and beneficial to all". "We don't drown our partners in a sea of debt, we don't coerce, compromise your independence", Pence said. It is not targeted against anyone and it does not exclude anyone. nor is it a trap as some people have labelled it.

In another swipe at the USA, which has threatened to quit the World Trade Organisation, Xi said rules-based global governance needed to be strengthened "not in a might-is-right way - once the rules are made they should not be followed or abandoned as one sees fits, and they should not applied with double standards for selfish agendas".

Xi also tackled U.S. attacks on China's communist system, saying there were more than 200 countries on the planet and "trying to erase their differences will not work, such differences are not a hindrance to exchanges, still less a cause for confrontation".

Speaking on a cruise ship tethered in Port Moresby's Fairfax Harbour, the Russian prime minister, Dimitry Medvedev, joined Morrison in warning against growing protectionism and argued for clear-cut and transparent rules on trade.

Papua New Guinea is home to over 40,000 Filipinos and over 200 Philippine companies, Malacañang earlier noted.

Trump and Xi are due to meet at a G20 meeting in Argentina late this month, raising some hope that trade tension could ease.

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