LIMA, Peru – The latest on the summit of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Forum (all times local):
Mexico isn’t throwing in the towel on free trade despite Donald Trump’s threats to break up NAFTA and abandon other multilateral trade deals.
Mexican Finance Minister Idelfonso Fajardo said Friday that he met with officials from five other signatories to the Trans-Pacific Partnership — Australia, Malaysia, New Zealand, Japan and Singapore — on the sidelines of the APEC summit in Lima, Peru. He says they agreed to forge ahead with the agreement regardless of what the new U.S. administration decides.
It’s unclear if they’ll succeed. Under terms of the TPP agreement signed this year in New Zealand, the vast free trade agreement can only be implemented if it is ratified by at least six countries that account for 85 per cent of the combined gross domestic production of the 12 TPP nations.
Donald’s Trump election has sparked concerns among some people of a U.S.-China trade war, but that hasn’t so far led the International Monetary Fund to lower its forecast for the U.S. economy.
In Lima, Peru, for the APEC summit, IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde says that “we’re not talking about revisions downward at the moment.”
The Washington-based international lender predicted last month that the U.S. economy should accelerate next year to 2.2 per cent growth, from an estimated 1.6 per cent this year.
In an interview with Bloomberg Television, Lagarde dodged questions about whether a wave of protectionism around the world and Trump’s pledges to slap tariffs on Chinese goods would hurt global growth. But she said she hopes to find common ground with skeptics of globalization and work well with the incoming U.S. administration.
She says she doesn’t think “it’s a question of not having globalization — it’s a question of what globalization it will be.”
In her words, “We have been saying for a while that growth has to be inclusive, and while we have observed over the course of time that trade is a huge engine for growth, it has not been an inclusive engine because some people have been to the side of that globalization.”
Officials from 21 nations have endorsed a report on the creation of vast free trade area encompassing Pacific Rim nations, including China and the U.S.
The feasibility study into the so-called Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific had been ordered at the summit in Beijing two years ago. Its findings haven’t yet been made public but were debated this week in Peru by trade officials from the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum and will be presented to leaders of the member nations on Saturday.
Ministers in a statement Friday also rejected rising protectionism, which they said is holding back global economic growth.
The presidents of Ecuador and China are celebrating expanding economic ties between their nations, jointly launching a Chinese-backed hydroelectric plant.
The two set the plant operating from a remote control board in the Ecuadorean capital of Quito. The Coca Codo Sinclair plant has a capacity to generate 1,500 megawatts in the Amazon region province of Orellana. That’s equal to 30 per cent of the country’s power consumption.
China’s Xi Jinping said Friday that Ecuador has become his country’s “most important partner for investment and financing, works contracts and co-operation in energy and resources” in the Latin America-Caribbean region.
Ecuadorean officials say Chinese projects have generated 14,000 jobs in the country.
Both leaders are heading to the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Forum in Peru.
A small group of anti-globalization activists shouting “Get Out Obama” and “TPP kills” have been protesting near the convention centre where an Asia-Pacific Economic summit is taking place.
The 50 or so protesters are outnumbered by police, and they’re being kept more than a mile (2 kilometres) from the secure venue where leaders from the 21-member organization are beginning to arrive.
Obama is expected to arrive in the Peruvian capital Friday to attend the summit.