World Leaders Push Back Against Trade Protectionism

Nov 23, 2016  | 3 min  | Ep4214

Agricultural companies like Deere and Company are looking to overseas markets for new sales opportunities.

Emerging economies may be harder to reach as president-elect Trump looks to follow through on a campaign promise to make trade more “fair” for the United States. 

President Barack Obama: “When it comes to trade, I believe the answer is not to pull back or try to erect barriers to trade, given our integrated economies and global supply chains.  That would hurt us all…but rather the answer is to do trade right.”

President Barack Obama joined world leaders of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, or APEC, in Peru early this past week in a push back against protectionism following Donald Trump’s recent U.S. electoral victory.  The 21 nation summit called for continuation of free-trade agreements despite Washington’s murky international future.

Donald Trump/President-elect: “On trade, I’m going to issue our notification of intent to withdraw from the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a potential disaster for our country.  Instead, we will negotiate fair bilateral trade deals that bring jobs and industry back onto American shores.”

This week the president-elect reiterated his pledge to gut a centerpiece of Obama’s foreign policy ‘pivot to Asia’.  On the campaign trail, Trump’s vow to scrap TPP drew support from American labor organizations and some agricultural groups like the National Farmers Union – who, earlier this month, commended Congress for refraining from a last minute vote in order to reexamine the pact’s terms. 

Trump also has threatened to slap steep import tariffs against China and renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement, or NAFTA, to better favor the United States. 

APEC leaders conceded the main obstacle to free trade agreements around the world is the growing frustration of those who feel left behind by globalization.

Pedro Pablo Kuczynski/President of Peru: “It’s fundamental that world trade grows again, and that protectionism be defeated.  There is unfortunately in the world, and we have seen it in recent elections not only in the U.S. but also in Britain…protectionist tendencies are taking over.”

Chinese officials have said more countries are looking to join a China-led alternative trading bloc in the wake of U.S. uncertainty.  But critics say the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, the Middle Kingdom’s alternative to TPP, is unlikely to include provisions on key issues like food safety, labor and the environment.        

Japan’s Prime Minister called TPP “meaningless” without U.S. participation, while New Zealand’s reaction to Trump’s announcement was mixed.

John Key/New Zealand Prime Minister: “There is a lot of alternatives that are available.  One is that the other eleven countries go forward.  But we can’t control that process.  He campaigned against TPP, but the United States isn’t an island.  It can’t just sit there and say it’s not going to trade with the rest of the world.”

For Market to Market, I’m Josh Buettner.





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