At APEC, Obama Calls on China to Play by the Rules

As leaders from APEC nations met in Hawaii for their annual gathering, President Obama called on China to follow the rules in its trade practices. From Reuters:

Obama, under pressure to create jobs at home and eager to highlight U.S. influence abroad, said an undervalued Chinese yuan was putting U.S. businesses at a disadvantage and a change in the currency policy would help the global economy.

“What I have said since I first came into office and what we’ve exhibited in terms of our interactions with the Chinese is we want you to play by the rules. And currency is probably a good example,” Obama said at a forum of executives on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit.

“For an economy like the United States — where our biggest competitive advantage is our knowledge, our innovation, our patents, our copyrights — for us not to get the kind of protection we need in a large marketplace like China is not acceptable.”

Meanwhile, China has not committed to a plan for an Asia-Pacific free trade zone, which is being pushed by the U.S. at the APEC meetings. From the Washington Post:

President Barack Obama, flanked by leaders of eight other nations involved in negotiations on setting up the trading bloc, said he was optimistic the trade pact dubbed the Trans-Pacific Partnership could draft a legal framework by next year.

“It is an ambitious goal, but we are optimistic that we can get it done,” he said on the summit’s sidelines.

The so-called TPP is billed as a building block for eventually forging a free trade zone that encompasses all of Asia and the Pacific. It now includes only four smaller economies — Chile, New Zealand, Brunei and Singapore — but the U.S., Australia, Malaysia, Vietnam and Peru are negotiating to join, and Japan said it hopes to as well.

[...] China, which some economists say is on course to overtake the U.S. as the world’s biggest economy this decade, has appeared unenthusiastic about the Pacific trade pact, describing the plan as “overly ambitious.” Its reluctance to endorse the proposal likely reflects wariness about being drawn into what has become a U.S.-led initiative that encroaches on its own sphere of influence in Asia.

Also on the agenda at APEC, President Obama is seeking China’s support on pressuring Iran over its nuclear program.

Watch an AP video report on Obama’s comments at today’s meetings:

November 12, 2011 11:17 PM
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