Trade Update November
China US Differences Disrupt APEC, RCEP and Pacific Alliance…
China US Differences Disrupt APEC
Differences between China and the US were so great that they disrupted the APEC Leaders’ Meeting Communique. This is the first time this has happened to a Leaders’ Meeting and indicates the strength of feeling on both sides and the level of disagreement. Talking to those working behind the scenes with the Papua New Guinea hosts we understand that fault was pretty evenly divided between China and the US. Papua New Guinea handled things as well as could be expected but did not get support from the other large Governments (other than US and China) that would have been needed to solve the problem. They seemed to have been taken by surprise by this problem.
We were taken by surprise by problems emerging in the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP- India, ASEAN, China, Korea, Japan, Australia, New Zealand) process right when all the signs were that agreement was imminent. RCEP Ministers have agreed to give the negotiation another year.
It is most unlikely that the quality of India’s market access offers will have any chance of improvement during this delay. This suggests that there were other reasons for this delay. For example, Japan, China and Korea might need more time to finalise arrangements between them.
Another negotiation that had appeared to be heading for an end of 2018 outcome has hit the rocks. The problem is the new Colombian Government refusing to agree liberalization for agriculture for Australia and New Zealand. There could be a several month delay in this process as Peru, Chile and Mexico engage with Colombia to try and bridge differences. The new Mexican Government will be a further complication to this process.