UPDATE: U.S. & China Reach Trade "Understanding." After a lengthy private meeting, presidents Barack Obama and Xi Jingping have found common ground on reducing tariffs on high-tech goods which backers say could cover $1 trillion in trade. The breakthrough will help bring talks on expansion of the global Information Technology Agreement to a "rapid conclusion." U.S. officials told the Associated Press that the progress with China includes an agreement to eliminate tariffs on goods like medical devices, global positioning systems, and video game consoles.
Additional updates: Beijing has also announced a free-trade agreement with South Korea. The Chinese stock markets will become open wider to foreign investors following new regulatory approval of linking the exchanges in Hong Kong and Shanghai. All this is following an announcement over the weekend of a $40 billion fund to improve trade links between Asian economies, financed by China.
John Engler, President of the Business Round Table:
“I believe Congress has an immediate opportunity in the lame-duck session to pass Trade Promotion Authority legislation to give the President and U.S. negotiators the tools they need to conclude promising trade agreements with Asia-Pacific countries and the European Union."
Heads of State Meeting in Beijing for APEC Summit
The leaders of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) member countries will be meeting around the Nov. 10-11 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in Beijing, U.S. National Security Adviser Susan Rice confirmed. APEC is hosting the Economic Leaders' Meeting in the capital city of China.
The TPP leaders meeting will be Nov. 10, following a planned Nov. 8 negotiating session of the 12 TPP trade ministers from Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the U.S. and Vietnam.
“We're working with our Asian partners to deepen our trade and investment ties through progress on agreements such as the WTO Information Technology Agreement and the environmental goods and services agreement[s], and we're working to bring China into the rules-based institutional structures in Asia,” Rice said, referring to the ongoing negotiations toward an Environmental Goods Agreement and toward a Trade in Services Agreement.
Regarding the president's Nov. 11-12 meetings with Chinese President Xi Jinping over the final day-and-a-half of the visit, Rice said that the meeting will present an opportunity to identify a forward-looking agenda for the next two years of the bilateral relationship.
She said that the president will seek to build a relationship with China that advances American economic and security interests and solves global problems in ways that reflect American values. She noted that the issue of cybersecurity will be prominent on the U.S.'s bilateral agenda.
“This is a source of grave concern to the United States,” Rice said. “We have reiterated on every occasion the fact that we oppose any efforts, official or unofficial, to engage in cyber-espionage for commercial gain or other purposes—and this has been and will remain a topic of discussion.”
UN Trade Urging G-20 to Resist New Restrictive Trade Actions
Group of 20 members should reduce restrictive trade measures as a means of stemming the world's stagnant growth trend, United Nations trade leaders said in a report released a week ahead of the G-20 conference in Brisbane, Australia.
“Prevailing global economic conditions mean that this is not a time for complacency in the international trading system,” according to a joint statement from the leaders of the World Trade Organization, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development and the UN Conference on Trade and Development.
The report, which evaluated trade and investment measures implemented from mid-May to mid-October 2014, noted that G-20 members have applied 93 new trade-restrictive measures during the last five months, which account for an estimated $118 billion in global merchandise value.
G-20 members have implemented 1,244 trade restrictions since the 2008 economic crisis and have removed 282 in the following years.
“The G-20 economies must take decisive action to reduce this stock of trade restrictions by showing restraint in the imposition of new measures and by effectively eliminating existing ones,” the report's authors wrote.
The report concluded that the overall trade policy response to the 2008 crisis was “significantly more muted” than had been expected.
“This shows that the multilateral trading system has acted as an effective backstop against protectionism,” the report said. “However, it is clear that the system can do more to drive economic growth, sustainable recovery and development.”