Trade tensions between US, China not given prominence during APEC

FILE PHOTO: A Chinese woman adjusts a Chinese national flag next to U.S. national flags before a Strategic Dialogue expanded meeting, part of the U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue (S&ED) held at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in Beijing, July 10, 2014. REUTERS/Ng Han Guan/Pool

PORT MORESBY, 22 AUGUST 2018 (THE NATIONAL) – Trade tensions between China and the United States have not been prominent during APEC meetings this year, says PNG APEC Ambassador Ivan Pomaleu.

He said such tensions were considered especially for trade-related meeting, but not emphasised in resolutions passed, which were meant for the region as a whole.

“We are sensitive to what is going on between China and the US,” Pomaleu said. It does not feature too strongly in our meetings, unless when talking on certain things like the multilateral trading system and issues of the World Trade Organisation come up.

“APEC generally supports a multilateral trading system and we respect that there are divergent views held by certain member economies.”

Pomaleu said APEC was a setting primarily for collective discussions.

He said any direct exchange between economies could be facilitated through bilateral talks on the sideline of APEC discussions.

“When Apec is going on, those discussions are left in the backroom,” Pomaleu said.

“If they want to pursue a topic further or clear the air on certain manners, we will facilitate bilateral talks where they can talk one-on-one.

“From where I am sitting, we encourage consensus on issues.

“It is not necessarily our space to encourage, except to provide facilities if they feel the need to talk and on concerns outside of set meetings.”

Pomaleu said as APEC host, they had the task to make sure PNG’s agenda was put forward while also facilitating views from all member economies

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