APEC Leaders Question Obama's Commitment to Free Trade

Endorsing China's stance on fighing protectionism, leaders of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) group have questioned U.S. President Barack Obama's commitment to free trade, reports Bloomberg.


According to Bloomberg, the 21-member APEC group, representing 54% of the global economy, pledged in a statement made yesterday in Singapore to “refrain from raising new barriers” to investment and trade. The group also declined to back U.S. calls for a stronger yuan, which U.S. companies say give China unfair trade advantages.


“The challenge Obama is facing is that the influence of the U.S. is rapidly waning and that he has little credibility” on trade issues, Marc Faber of Hong Kong-based Marc Faber Ltd., tells Bloomberg. “Obama talked about free trade, but recently the U.S. slapped tariffs on Chinese-made tire imports.”


Quoting Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak's statement during a Nov. 13 panel discussion in Singapore, Bloomberg says Obama needs to show the same commitment to free trade as his predecessor, George W. Bush. Meanwhile, Mexican President Felipe Calderon says the U.S. has become more protectionist and less engaged internationally since the Sept. 11 terror attacks.


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