Peru president, APEC host, warns of threats to free trade

Peru president, APEC host, warns of threats to free trade

Vice President Mercedes Araoz said several options would be discussed among APEC members in coming days, including joining RCEP.

Business leaders, also gathered in Lima, cautioned that the world would need to wait and see what happened with a Trump presidency and Brexit but that customers accustomed to enjoying the fruits of free trade were unlikely to support the effects of increased barriers.

In Peru, Obama will explain to other TPP nations the reasons for the USA government's failure and the suspensions of its efforts to win congressional approval for the deal.

Peruvian President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski said last week that the TPP could be replaced with a new deal that includes USA rivals China and Russian Federation.

"In the U.S. and Britain, protectionist tendencies are taking over", Kuczynski told Apec leaders.

The world will look to the summit for "a strong statement" to counter Trump's anti-trade arguments, said Eduardo Pedrosa, secretary general of the Pacific Economic Cooperation Council.

New Zealand Prime Minister John Key has landed in Peru for what he has described as the most important Apec he has attended because of Mr Trump's stance on free trade.

China will step into the political vacuum created by Donald Trump's U.S. presidential election win to forge stronger ties with Latin America and advance Beijing-led free-trade deals at the Apec summit in Lima, Peru, this week, analysts said.

Speaking during the annual Defense One summit in Washington DC, the Commander of US Pacific Command sought to reassure allies in the Asia-Pacific region that their security is integral to that of the US.

"It's only been 10 days since the election", he said.

Malaysia pins Pacific trade pact hopes on Abe-Trump meeting
The newspaper said Mr Trump was working without official State Department briefing materials in his dealings with foreign leaders. Abe may also try to sway Trump on the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a 12-country trade agreement that the president-elect opposes.

"The key strategic challenge for the Trump administration is whether the U.S. will strengthen its engagement with the Asia-Pacific or retreat towards a more isolationist stance", he said in a note.

"Inaction poses serious costs", he said.

This year's APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting comes as the global economy is still struggling to recover, with flagging trade and investment, rising protectionism and fragmented trade rules.

"And for anyone who wants to promote protection I suggest they read an economic history of the 1930s", he said, a reference to the Great Depression that many argue was aggravated by protectionist policies.

The United States has called a meeting of leaders of the 12 nation Trans-Pacific Partnership on the sidelines of the APEC meeting on Sunday morning New Zealand time.

Froman warned of "serious" strategic and economic costs if the United States walks away from the deal, created to be a cornerstone of USA influence in the Asia-Pacific region.

"There is no doubt that if the TPP fails it will be a huge win for China, politically and economically", said Brian Jackson, a China economist at consultancy IHS Global Insight.

Prime Minister John Key says Trade Minister Todd McClay has been meeting with his counterparts, and some have expressed a wish to go ahead with the deal, even if they can't get the US President-elect on side.

That includes the Trans Pacific Partnership, which is now on ice because of Mr Trump's election promise to stop it.

"He certainly scared quite a few key capitals in Asia when he suggested that US alliance partners aren't doing enough to hold up their end of the bargain to maintain long-standing defense partnerships with Washington", Kugelman said.