(photo credit: JPOST STAFF)
Ministers from Asia-Pacific countries discussed the changing global trade landscape on Saturday after US President Donald Trump upended the old order with an "America First" policy that has sparked fears of protectionism.
It is the biggest trade meeting since Trump took office and brings together ministers from the United States, China, Japan and other Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) countries that account for more than 40 percent of world trade.
At the opening in communist Vietnam's capital, Hanoi, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc highlighted three decades of growth in APEC and said: "That's the proof of our group's effort on liberalization." A draft seen by Reuters of the meeting statement to be issued on Sunday also emphasized free trade.
"In some of our communities there are increasing numbers of people questioning the benefits of globalization and free trade, spurring protectionist trends," it said.
"Against that backdrop, we reaffirm our commitment to promote trade and investment liberalization."