APEC trade ministers agreed on Friday to support more inclusive and sustainable commerce, but Russia and China’s objections to Ukraine’s language prevented a joint statement.
APEC host U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai gave a chair’s statement after two days of meetings in Detroit, emphasizing inclusivity, climate change, and sustainability.
“We reaffirm our determination to deliver a free, open, fair, non-discriminatory, transparent, inclusive and predictable trade and investment environment,” the statement said.
The organization reaffirmed its support for the WTO-led rules-based multilateral trading system. “We will continue to work to ensure a level playing field to foster a favorable trade and investment environment and reaffirm our commitment to keep markets open and address supply chain disruptions,” it said.
Last November in Bangkok, APEC leaders declared that “most members” strongly denounced the Ukraine war and its human and economic toll.
At the Detroit meeting, China and Russia opposed it, leaving it to Tai’s chair’s declaration that “APEC is not the forum to resolve security issues.”
Tai told a news conference she believed APEC leaders at a November summit in San Francisco could agree on a declaration.
Tai utilized the Detroit summit to promote the Biden administration’s “worker-centered” trade policies internationally. After vigorous trade liberalization, she chose Detroit to demonstrate its regeneration and transition to green transportation technology.
“I’m confident that APEC’s reputation as an incubator of ideas and a catalyst for cooperation can also benefit our work in driving a race to the top for workers throughout the region,” she said.