China's Xi Jinping urges 'openness' at Apec meeting

DANANG, VIETNAM: Asia-Pacific nations must "uphold multi-lateralism", Chinese President Xi Jinping said yesterday, countering US President Donald Trump's message at a summit that the United States would stay out of trade deals that surrender its sovereignty.

Globalisation is an irreversible trend, but the world must work to make it more balanced and inclusive, Mr Xi told leaders gathered for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation meeting.

"Should we steer economic globalisation, or should we dither and stall in the face of challenge? Should we jointly advance regional cooperation or should we go our separate ways?" Mr Xi asked.

"Openness brings progress, while self-seclusion leaves one behind," he said.

Mr Xi's efforts to seize the mantle of free trade have rung hollow to critics of China, who have argued that it erects more market barriers to foreign companies, using state-driven industrial plans, than any major economy.

In Danang, Mr Xi said China would "significantly ease market access" for foreign firms, and all businesses registered in China would be treated as equals.

He has been selling an alternative vision for regional trade by promoting the Beijing-backed Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, which includes Australia, India and more than a dozen other countries, but not the United States. - REUTERS

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