Thursday, 21 February, 2019

China’s supported trade deal agreement flops, pushed to 2019

The integrated command centre of the RSS Sovereignty. The Singapore Armed Forces will deploy over 40 assets from several task forces to secure Singapore's airspace and surrounding waters during the Summit China’s supported trade deal agreement flops, pushed to 2019
Nellie Chapman | 13 November, 2018, 22:17

"It is now that we must continue to expand our intra-trade and deepen the economic integration within Asean", he said.

Key world leaders including China's Li, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Mike Pence - Donald Trump's number two - are also in Singapore for talks foreshadowed by the China-US trade war and its ripple effect on global economies, particularly in Asia.

The Modi-Pence meeting comes just days after the United States re-imposed sanctions on import of crude oil from Iran but temporarily allowed India, China, South Korea, Japan, Italy, Greece, Taiwan and Turkey to continue the purchase from the Gulf nation without any penalty.

Asked if there will be a meeting between Modi and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang on the sidelines of the summits, she said the details of the bilateral meetings were still being worked out.

Mahathir, a veteran strongman of the region who in May returned to the prime minister's office he had occupied for 22 years, told reporters that the United States is "a colonial power" that uses "economic pressure to cow people".

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will leave for Singapore this evening to attend the 13th East Asia Summit, Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) and other associated meetings of the ASEAN Summit now underway.

China is pushing the RCEP deal - Assistant Foreign Minister Chen Xiaodong told reporters on Thursday it "will be of great significance for deepening regional cooperation, coping with unilateralism and protectionism, and promoting an open, inclusive and rules-based worldwide trading system".

"The rise of trade protectionism, resurgent nationalistic movements and inward-looking policies also seem to be slowly taking place within Asean itself", he said in a keynote speech at the Asean Business and Investment Summit here.

"For Malaysia, free trade must also mean fair trade, taking into account the economic levels of all trading partners". "There is a big likelihood, and we even would like to have conclusion and signing by next year as well".

Li said China would "work with all relevant parties to expedite" negotiations on the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), showcased to be a free trade deal that will encompass more than a third of the world's GDP.

At the meetings, ASEAN and China will try to make headway in negotiations for a code of conduct for the South China Sea, which Beijing claims nearly in its entirety while ASEAN members Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia and Brunei claim parts of the area.

A draft leaders' statement on the RCEP seen by AFP said talks will be concluded next year, noting the urgency of reaching an agreement "given the current headwinds faced by the global economy".

Asean and China are still negotiating for the adoption a new code of conduct to ensure peace in the tension-filled South China Sea.