China wants Asia-Pacific trade deals, Obama pauses TPP
Briefing journalists ahead of President Xi Jinping's departure for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in Peru from Nov. 19-20, China's Vice Foreign Minister Li Baodong warned of the rise of protectionism and said the region needed a free trade agreement as soon as possible.
"Trade and investment protectionism is rearing its head, and Asia-Pacific faces insufficient momentum for internal growth, and difficulties in advancing reforms," Li said.
"China believes we should set a new and very practical working plan, to positively respond to the expectations of industry, and sustain momentum and establish a free trade area in Asia-Pacific at an early date," Li said.
President Barack Obama's administration has suspended its efforts to win congressional approval for his Asian free-trade deal before President-elect Donald Trump takes office, saying on Friday that TPP's fate was up to Trump and Republican lawmakers.
Administration officials also said Obama would try to explain the situation to leaders of the 11 other countries in the Trans-Pacific Partnership pact next week when he attends a regional summit in Peru. ■