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[WATCH] Apec summit: US will no longer tolerate 'chronic trade abuses'

The US will no longer 'be taken advantage of', said US President Donald Trump in an address at the Asia-Pacific Economic Co-Operation summit in Vietnam, as part of his Asia tour

10 November 2017, 8:49am
President Donald Trump arrives in the central Vietnamese city of Danang for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Summit on 10 November, 2017 (Photo: Getty)
President Donald Trump arrives in the central Vietnamese city of Danang for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Summit on 10 November, 2017 (Photo: Getty)
 

US President Donald Trump said that he will no longer tolerate “chronic trade abuses”, in an address at the Asia-Pacific Economic Co-Operation (Apec) summit, in Vietnam.

He pushed for freedom and economic openness in a Friday speech that portrayed Washington as a more respectful trade partner to Asian nations than China has been.

Though he is prepared to work with Apec countries, he said, he will do so only as long as they “abide by fair reciprocal trade”.

The US will no longer “be taken advantage of” on trade, he added.

As part of his Asian tour, Trump has already vowed to correct grave trade imbalances with both China and Japan.

The total trade relationship between the US and China was worth $648 billion last year alone, but it was heavily skewed in China’s favour, with the US amassing a nearly $310 billion deficit.

In the past, Trump has accused China of stealing American jobs and threatened to label it a currency manipulator, though he has since rowed back on his rhetoric.

During his state visit to Beijing on Thursday, he said that he “did not blame China” for “taking advantage” and that previous US administrations were responsible for a “very unfair and one-sided” trade relationship with China.

In response, China said it would further lower entry barriers in the banking, insurance, and finance sectors, and gradually reduce vehicle tariffs.

On Thursday, Xi Jinping promised "healthy" and "balanced" economic and trade relations.

Deals worth $250bn were also announced, although it was unclear how much of that figure included past agreements or potential future deals. At the same time, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson told journalists the deals were "pretty small" in terms of tackling the trade imbalance.

Before the Beijing talks, Trump in Tokyo lashed out at Japan, saying it "has been winning" on trade in recent decades.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will also be making a speech at the Apec summit. Japan had a $69bn trade surplus with the US in 2016, according to the US Treasury department.

Since taking office, President Trump has pulled the US out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a major trade deal with 12 Apec member countries, arguing it would hurt US economic interests.

Chinese President Xi Jinping is also expected to address the summit in the Vietnamese port city of Da Nang.

Chinese newspapers and academics seconded those emotions on Friday morning, as the US president jetted off on the next leg of his Asian tour.

“China should be happy,” said Chen Daoyin, a Shanghai-based political scientist, calling the trip a diplomatic triumph for Xi Jinping.

“The leader of the world’s number one power has just made a pilgrimage to him - this is naturally how all Chinese people will see it.”

“Trump has pleasantly surprised many who a year ago were deeply worried about a trade war given his harsh campaign rhetoric,” Chen Weihua, the deputy editor of the China Daily’s US edition, wrote in his appraisal of the billionaire’s “state visit-plus”.

“Trump has also surprised many for his relatively good handling of US-China relations, including forging a close working and personal relationship with President Xi Jinping.”