APEC leaders have said they will pursue free trade deals despite Donald Trump’s election victory.
During the campaign, Donald Trump called for greater protection for US jobs and said he would tear up the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) – the biggest multinational trade deal in years.
After a two-day summit in Peru, leaders of Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation defended the benefits of open markets.
China also claimed growing support for a wider 21-nation trade deal it backs.
In a statement at the end of the summit the APEC leaders said: “We reaffirm our commitment to keep our markets open and to fight against all forms of protectionism.”
It also referred to the “rising skepticism over trade”, after the uneven recovery since the financial crisis had caused more people to question whether globalization worked for enough people.
However, the leaders said that the “the benefits of trade and open markets need to be communicated to the wider public more effectively, emphasizing how trade promotes innovation, employment and higher living standards”.
The TPP pact involves 12 countries: the US, Japan, Malaysia, Vietnam, Singapore, Brunei, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Mexico, Chile and Peru.
It aims to deepen economic ties between these nations, slashing tariffs and fostering trade to boost growth.
Donald Trump said the proposal was a “terrible deal” that would send American jobs to countries with cheaper labor.
The agreement must be ratified in the US Congress, which remains in the hands of Donald Trump’s party – meaning it’s expected to fail.
Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton had also opposed the pact.
After the APEC summit, President Barack Obama reiterated his support for the pact, saying not going ahead would undermine the US position across Asia Pacific.
Barack Obama warned he was already hearing calls for a less ambitious trade agreement that would exclude US workers and businesses.
“When it comes to trade, I believe the answer is not to pull back,” he said.
“The answer is to do trade right, making sure it has strong labor standards, strong environmental standards, that it addresses ways in which workers and ordinary people can benefit rather than be harmed by global trade.”
However, while some leaders think the TPP could go ahead without the US, others say it would be impossible without a complete renegotiation.
Over the weekend, New Zealand PM John Key suggested there could be minor changes to the agreement that would give Donald Trump enough wiggle room to support it, without losing face.
Meanwhile Peruvian President Pedro Pablo said the TPP should not be written off, despite Donald Trump’s win.
China – which is not part of the TPP – has set out an alternative vision for regional trade.
Its proposal, the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), does not include the Americas.
After the APEC summit, Beijing said several nations including Peru and Chile had expressed interest in joining the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP).