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Pacific Rim Nations Push Back on Free-Trade Skepticism

November 20, 2016

LIMA, Peru—Leaders of Pacific Rim nations meeting here on Sunday are pushing back against growing skepticism toward free-trade deals in the U.S. and elsewhere, promising to continue strengthening economic ties.

In doing so, leaders at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum, which accounts for almost 60% of global gross domestic product, sent a message to President-elect Donald Trump that they would move forward with trade pacts with or without the U.S….

…Those policies would represent a sharp turn for the U.S., which has long promoted removing trade barriers to boost economic growth. Now, many APEC leaders in Peru said they hoped to persuade the next U.S. president of trade’s benefits, while China indicated at the summit it was ready to take the lead in promoting trade.

“I very much see this as a strategic shift that is in progress,” said Eric Farnsworth, vice president of the Council of the Americas and Americas Society who was in Lima for the meeting. “There is real concern that the U.S. is withdrawing from its traditional role.”…

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