Last month, US President Donald Trump had said he expected to sign a trade agreement with China President Xi Jinping when they meet at the APEC meeting in Chile on November 16-17. The world was looking forward to the Chile meeting as all nations have been affected by the trade war between the US, the world’s biggest importing nation, and China, the world’s biggest exporter.
Last Wednesday, however, President Sebastian Pinera withdrew Chile as the host of the APEC summit.
In view of the rioting over poverty and inequality in the the country that has left at least 18 people dead. The APEC summit was to be attended by the leaders of nations around the Pacific and President Trump had chosen it as the perfect neutral ground for signing an agreement to end the trade war with China.
Chile President Pinera also cancelled the December 2-13 United Nations climate change conference COP 25, that would have gathered the leaders of all nations around the world to meet on the worsening problem of global pollution that is raising world temperatures, causing glaciers to melt and ocean levels to rise, and sending increasingly vicious typhoons and hurricanes.
Pinera chose to retain one big event – the Copa Libertadores championship on December 2-13 between Argentina and Brazil, hoping perhaps that the Chileans’ massive interest in football would deter any move to cause trouble in the sports event.
With the cancellation of the APEC summit in Chile, the uncertainty over the US-China trade war has risen once again. Even with President Trump’s optimistic remarks last month, there were lingering doubts, considering the many time the US president had changed his mind at the last moment. But he appeared to be quite satisfied with ongoing talks, especially the China’s agreeing to buy up to $50 billion worth of US farm products. This would be important to keep the support of America’s farmers in the coming US presidential election.
A search is now underway for another neutral site where President Trump and President Xi can meet and sign an agreement to finally end the trade war that has had so many worldwide repercussions. We hope the proper site will be found soon, perhaps in one of the ASEAN capitals with close ties to both the US and China.