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 US shrugs off China's complaints on APEC

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PostSubject: US shrugs off China's complaints on APEC   Sat Nov 12, 2011 7:03 am

Nov 11, 2011 21:51 EST

US shrugs off China's complaints on APEC

The United States shrugged off China's complaints that its goals for the APEC summit were too ambitious, saying it was acting to benefit the entire Asia-Pacific region.

Ahead of the weekend Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meeting in Hawaii, Beijing had questioned whether developing states could meet US aspirations, for example on tariffs on green products and trade expansion.

Asked about China's complaints, a key aide to US President Barack Obama said that Washington would not hesitate to push for what it believed were important components of a prosperous Asia-Pacific region.

"The measures that we are pursuing are in our interests, but we also think they are in the interests of the region's economy," deputy national security advisor Ben Rhodes on Friday said on Air Force One after Obama set off for Hawaii.

"Throughout the APEC agenda.... we are focused on a range of areas, innovation, regulatory convergence, green growth, that we think are in the interests of all the nations that are there at the table."

"We are going to continue to work on behalf of a region that has economies adhering to rules of the road and engaging in the type of trade that can be beneficial to all nations," Rhodes said, a day before Obama meets Chinese President Hu Jintao on the summit eve.

China said on Monday that US goals for APEC were "too ambitious" and beyond the reach of developing economies in the fast-growing region.

Some APEC members had already "expressed their difficulties and concerns" at US targets for lower tariffs on environmental products and for reductions in energy intensity, assistant foreign minister Wu Hailong said.

The United States wants duties levied on green goods capped at five percent and member countries to reduce their energy intensity -- the amount of energy consumed per unit of GDP -- to 50 percent of 2005 levels by 2035, Wu said.

"It seems that the current goals put out by the US side are too ambitious and beyond the reach of developing economies," he told a media briefing ahead of the forum in Honolulu on November 12-13.

"We hope that all parties will demonstrate flexibility -- they need to pay attention to the different development stages of members of APEC, especially developing countries."

Washington also hopes to use its APEC chairmanship to set the terms of the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal that could breathe life into moribund global commerce talks.

But Chinese assistant commerce minister Yu Jianhua cast doubt on the ability of some APEC members to reach the "high benchmarks" set for the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) grouping.

"Whether or not all those members will reach that very high benchmark, we will still have to wait and see," Yu said, adding that China had not been invited to join the partnership.

The TPP is an Asia-Pacific regional trade agreement being negotiated among the United States and eight other partners -- Australia, Brunei, Chile, Malaysia, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam.


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