- Title: Peru's president Pedro Pablo Kuczynski opens APEC summit
- Date: 19th November 2016
- Summary: LIMA, PERU (NOVEMBER 19, 2016) (REUTERS) APEC SIGN OUTSIDE SUMMIT SITE OF 2016 APEC
- Embargoed: 4th December 2016 21:06
- Keywords: Pedro Pablo Kuczynski APEC summit inauguration TPP
- Location: LIMA, PERU
- City: LIMA, PERU
- Country: Peru
- Topics: Diplomacy/Foreign Policy,Government/Politics
- Reuters ID: LVA0015940U2V
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Peruvian President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski (PPK) officially kicked off the leaders' session of the 2016 Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in Lima Saturday (November 19) with a pledge to use forums like APEC to fight against protectionism.
Before speaking in Lima, PPK shook hands with the leaders of 21 nations represented in the Peruvian capital, including U.S. President Barack Obama, Russian President Vladimir Putin, and Chinese President Xi Jinping, among others.
Xi pledged on Saturday to further open the world's second-largest economy as leaders of Asia-Pacific countries gathered in Peru to find new free-trade options after Donald Trump was elected U.S. president on a protectionist platform.
The annual APEC summit got under way in Lima just over a week after Trump's surprise victory dashed hopes of the largest-ever U.S.-proposed trade deal, the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), coming to fruition.
President Barack Obama championed the TPP as a way to counter China's rise, but his administration has now stopped trying to win congressional approval for the deal, which was signed by 12 economies in the Americas and Asia-Pacific, excluding China. Without U.S. approval, the agreement as currently negotiated cannot be implemented.
Throughout his campaign, Trump strongly criticized U.S. free-trade deals, vowing to pull the world's biggest economy out of the TPP and promising to impose tariffs on imports from trade partners China and Mexico.
China's Xi is selling an alternate vision for regional trade by promoting the Beijing-backed Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), which as it stands excludes the Americas.
With the fate of the TPP now uncertain, China's talks on RCEP are seen as the only viable path to the broader Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific (FTAAP) that APEC aspires to.
The Obama administration has warned that the RCEP would not include strong protections for workers, the environment or intellectual property.
Despite China's overtures, some APEC members are determined to press on with TPP and held out hopes that the United States would still show leadership on trade.
Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto said the North American Free Trade Agreement between the United States, Mexico and Canada should be "modernized."
Peru and Japan signed a joint statement pledging to work harder to put into force the 12-nation accord.
"There is a threat of protectionism around the world at the moment, and APEC I think is a very good organisation to fight against that. And that's certainly, I am sure, a very important part of our agenda. And naturally it's not just trade that matters, it's investment, it's employment, it's labour, and labour has to be part of our effort otherwise they will feel left out and they are an essential part of this," PPK said during his Saturday address.
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