Despite divisions over global wars, Apec leaders support WTO reform

Days of meetings involving APEC ministers and leaders were dominated by a summit between US President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday aimed at cooling tensions between the world’s two largest economies.

Reuters

19 November, 2023, 09:45 am

Last modified: 19 Nov, 2023, 09:48 am

At a two-day summit of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum, Pacific Rim leaders again showed divisions over the Ukraine and Gaza wars. Photo: Reuters

„>

At a two-day summit of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum, Pacific Rim leaders again showed divisions over the Ukraine and Gaza wars. Photo: Reuters

Pacific Rim leaders again showed divisions over the wars in Ukraine and Gaza at a two-day summit of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum, although they pledged support for reform of the World Trade Organization.

Days of meetings involving APEC ministers and leaders were dominated by a summit between US President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday, which has warned the region that tensions between the world’s two largest economies will cool.

The 21 Apec members, which include Russia and Muslim-majority Indonesia and Malaysia, went into meetings divided over Russia’s war in Ukraine and the Hamas-Israel war in Gaza, and that’s how they left them.

A statement issued by the US, the Apec chair this year, echoed the announcement by Apec leaders last year that „the majority” of Apec members „strongly condemn the aggression against Ukraine.”

It said the leaders exchanged views on the Gaza crisis and some objected to the language of the president’s statement on the „Golden Gate Declaration” covering economic issues. „

Some APEC leaders shared the united messages of the Arab-Islamic Joint Summit in Riyadh on November 11, the chairman’s statement said.

Brunei, Indonesia and Malaysia said in a joint statement that they were among the Apec leaders who backed messages from the Riyadh summit calling for an immediate end to military operations in Gaza, rejecting Israel’s justification for defensive actions against the Palestinians. .

The three countries called for an „immediate, sustained and lasting” humanitarian ceasefire and the unhindered delivery of essential goods and services to civilians in Gaza.

’Free, Open and Fair Investment Environment’

The Apec leaders’ declaration reaffirmed their commitment to „provide a free, open, fair, non-discriminatory, transparent, inclusive and predictable trade and investment environment”. „We are committed to the necessary reform to improve all functions of the WTO, including holding discussions with a view to having a comprehensive and well-functioning dispute settlement system accessible to all members by 2024,” it said.

Despite friction over Ukraine and the Middle East wars, the Sino-US talks would have brought some relief to Apec members worried about the worsening trajectory of competition between the world’s largest economies.

The Biden-Xi summit brought agreements to resume military-to-military ties and curb fentanyl production, the first face-to-face talks between the two in a year that showed some concrete progress, but no major realignment in their strategic rivalry. .

Xi appears to have achieved his goals, receiving U.S. concessions in exchange for promises of cooperation, an easing of bilateral tensions that would allow a greater focus on economic growth, and the prospect of attracting foreign investors who increasingly shun China.

Addressing other Apec leaders on Friday, Biden urged them to work together to ensure that artificial intelligence brings about better change rather than abusing workers or limiting capacity.

The US-China signal

He used the Apec summit to highlight a strong US economy and its ties with other Pacific nations, even as his vision for greater regional cooperation to counter China’s influence falters on the trade front in an effort to strengthen workers’ rights.

Kristalina Georgieva, managing director of the International Monetary Fund, told Reuters the Biden-C meeting was a much-needed signal that the world needs to cooperate more and a positive sign for cooperation on global challenges, especially climate change.

High US-China tensions are linked to democratically-ruled Taiwan, which China claims as its own, and the issue has raised fears of a clash between the superpowers.

Taiwan’s Apec ambassador, semiconductor magnate Morris Chang, told a news conference on Friday that he believed the Biden-Chi summit was a „good meeting.”

He said he had informal contacts at Apec’s side with Biden, US Vice President Kamala Harris and US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken, but not with Xi.

As it competes with China for influence, Biden’s administration has pledged to continue negotiating an ambitious Asia trade deal as part of the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework, created as a forum for engagement after then-President Donald Trump walked away from a regional trade pact in 2017.

However, election-year pressures and some countries’ resistance to tougher obligations make a deal unlikely, trade experts and trade groups say.

READ  Eighty-three of the 100 most polluted cities are in India, but a lack of monitoring affects global rankings

Dodaj komentarz

Twój adres e-mail nie zostanie opublikowany. Wymagane pola są oznaczone *