US's Mnuchin to lead 5-nation trip, including controversial Saudi event
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin will lead a US delegation next week on a five-country tour of the Middle East and India, including attending a Saudi investment conference he boycotted last year over the gruesome murder of a journalist, officials said Friday. American officials will use the trip to increase pressure on Iran and strengthen economic ties with allies, the Treasury Department said in a statement, which confirmed prior AFP reporting that Mnuchin would attend the Saudi conference.
BANGKOK (Reuters) - Southeast Asian leaders, worried by the U. S .-China trade war, pushed for a deal on what could be the world' s largest trade bloc on Sunday as officials worked behind the scenes to try to salvage progress following new demands from India . Hopes of finalizing the Asia -wide
Southeast Asian leaders meeting in Thailand hope to make progress on the China-backed Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) - which would comprise "It' s a fact India has put new demands which are difficult to meet," said a person with knowledge about New Delhi' s negotiations.
BANGKOK (Reuters) - Southeast Asian leaders, worried by the U.S.-China trade war, pushed for a deal on what could be the world's largest trade bloc on Sunday as officials worked behind the scenes to try to salvage progress following new demands from India.
Trump says new site in works for next round of China trade talks
President Trump said Thursday that the next round of trade negotiations with China was still on despite Chile canceling the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation event at which the two sides had planned to meet. The president said that the White House and Beijing were close to settling on a new meeting place. © Provided by MediaDC: Washington Newspaper Publishing Company, Inc."China and the USA are working on selecting a new site for signing of Phase One of Trade Agreement, about 60% of total deal, after APEC in Chile was canceled do to unrelated circumstances. The new location will be announced soon.
There are concerns within India that a trade agreement like RCEP could be detrimental to domestic producers as they compete against relatively cheaper goods coming in from other markets. A preliminary 16-country trade pact could be announced next week — if India plays along.
Eyes are on India as officials send mixed signals at the last minute on commitment to deal with 10-member bloc of Southeast Asian countries. Thai policemen outside the venue for the 35th Asean Summit in Nonthaburi province. Photo: EPA.
Hopes of finalizing the Asia-wide Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), which is backed by China, have been thrown into doubt at the summit of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in Bangkok, Thailand.
"We should continue to work to conclude negotiations on the RCEP within this year to stimulate economic growth, as well as trade and investment," Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha told the formal opening of the ASEAN summit.
He highlighted the risks of "trade frictions" and "geo strategic competition" in a region where the trade tensions between the United States and China have helped drive growth to its slowest in five years in 2019.
"ASEAN must accelerate deeper economic integration through concrete programs and projects, such as RCEP," a statement quoted Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte as saying, adding that he voiced alarm over protectionism and the trade war.
China says ready to work with ASEAN for South China Sea peace
China says ready to work with ASEAN for South China Sea peaceChina's sweeping maritime claims in the South China Sea are rejected by several members of ASEAN, which have competing claims in the busy waterway.
The new trade agreement was the first concrete step toward a China-Asean free trade area by 2010, an idea China broached two years ago. U Lwin, the spokesman for the party, the National League for Democracy, said the party confirmed over the weekend that Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi had been told her
Last-Minute India Demands Jeopardize 16-Nation Asian Trade Pact . While contentious issues remain and the terms aren’t yet known, RCEP would at least in Xi has used the private sector in conjunction with massive loans and state infrastructure projects to garner greater influence in the region over the
The 16 countries in RCEP would account for a third of global gross domestic product and nearly half the world's population.
But India is worried about a potential flood of Chinese imports. A person with knowledge of New Delhi's negotiations said new demands were made last week "which are difficult to meet."
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who is in Bangkok, told the Bangkok Post in an interview he is committed to RCEP talks but added "opening the vast Indian market must be matched by openings in some areas where our businesses can also benefit."
Some countries have raised the possibility of moving ahead without India on forming a bloc that also included Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand.
But Thai commerce minister Jurin Laksanawisit told Reuters on Sunday that India had not pulled out and all was good on RCEP negotiations, a day ahead of a meeting at which the Thai hosts hope major progress will be announced.A draft final statement for the ASEAN summit seen by Reuters said the leaders would express "deep concern over the rising trade tensions and on-going protectionist and anti-globalization sentiments".
Huawei pushes 5G in SEAsia, brushing off 'tech war' with US
Chinese phone giant Huawei said Sunday it was ready to roll out 5G infrastructure across Southeast Asia, dismissing US warnings its tech could be used to hoover up data for Beijing. © Rolf Vennenbernd/picture alliance via Getty Images 15 October 2019, North Rhine-Westphalia, Duesseldorf: View of the Huawei Germany headquarters. Despite political concerns, the Chinese telecommunications group Huawei will in future be able to play a major role in the expansion of the German 5G mobile communications network.
Southeast Asian leaders will race to get a sprawling China-backed trade pact over the line at a regional meeting in Thailand this weekend, as Australia and New Zealand have called for better labour and environmental rights, without which RCEP critics fear could lower trade standards in Asia .
A major sticking point has been demands from India , which is worried about a potential flood of Chinese imports.
The U.S. decision to send a lower level delegation to the summits this year has raised regional concerns that it can no longer be relied on as a counterweight to China's increasing regional dominance.
Instead of President Donald Trump or Vice President Mike Pence, the United States will be represented by Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and White House national security adviser Robert O'Brien.
China's premier, Li Keqiang, met ASEAN leaders on Sunday and said China was ready to work with countries in the region for long term peace and stability in the South China Sea, where neighbors reject Beijing's sweeping maritime claims.
Li cited this year's progress on a code of conduct, due for completion within three years. A legally binding code has long been a goal for ASEAN members sparring over what they see as China's disregard of sovereign rights and its obstruction of their energy exploration and fishing.
(Additional reporting by Liz Lee; Writing by Matthew Tostevin; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore)
Trump says he has not agreed to roll back tariffs on Chinese goods .
Officials from both countries on Thursday had said China and the United States have agreed to roll back tariffs on each others' goods in a "phase one" trade deal. But the idea of tariff rollbacks met with stiff opposition within the Trump administration, Reuters reported later on Thursday. Those divisions were on full display on Friday, when Trump - who has repeatedly described himself as "Tariff Man" - told reporters at the White House that he had not agreed to reduce tariffs already put in place."China would like to get somewhat of a rollback, not a complete rollback, 'cause they know I won't do it," Trump said.