APEC ministers publish joint statement after wrangling over language

9:06 AM, November 11, 2017

Ministers from Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) countries released a joint statement on Saturday, three days later than planned because of wrangling over traditional language that the United States wanted to change.

The statement still refers to free and open trade, to fighting protectionism and to recognizing the world of the World Trade Organisation, but it also refers to fair trade and to members “improving adherence to rules agreed upon.”

The statement from the APEC foreign and trade ministers had originally been due on Wednesday from the talks in the Vietnamese resort of Danang.

APEC leaders who meet on Saturday are due to release a separate communique.

U.S. President Donald Trump has taken a strongly different stance on trade to predecessors with an emphasis on an “America First” policy that he says will protect American jobs and mean other countries do not take advantage of the United States.

Trump drove home those points in a speech at the APEC meetings on Friday.

The discussion over the statement in Danang has been similar to that which took place at G-20 meetings where the Trump administration demanded changes to the usual language.