Asia-Pacific leaders vow to fight protectionism

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LIMA: Asia-Pacific leaders vowed Sunday to fight protectionism at the close of a summit upended by US President-elect Donald Trump’s shock victory and virulent attacks on free-trade deals.

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“We reaffirm our commitment to keep our markets open and to fight against all forms of protectionism,” said the final statement from the summit of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) group.

Rising protectionism in Europe highlighted by Britain’s exit from the European Union and in the United States underscored by Trump’s election was a major concern at the two-day summit in the Peruvian capital Lima.

A key concern were remarks made by Trump during the election campaign that he would abandon the US-led Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a free-trade deal that covers 12 regional economies. Trump had also shocked global markets by threatening to tear up existing free-trade pacts involving the United States.

The leaders in their statement vowed “to rollback protectionist and trade-distorting measures, which weaken trade and slow down the progress and recovery of the international economy.”

They also pledged to “refrain from competitive devaluation” of their currencies.

During the presidential campaign, Trump repeatedly accused China of keeping the yuan undervalued to boost exports and threatened to declare Beijing a currency manipulator once in office.

AFP/CC

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