Mike Pence’s blunt statements at the APEC meeting

The US Vice President Mike Pence, at the Asia Pacific Economic Co-operation (APEC) summit in Papua New Guinea, said that the United States will not back down from its trade dispute with China. He added that they might even double its tariffs unless Beijing bows to its demands.

Background

Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) is a forum comprising of 21 Pacific Rim member economies. The goal of the APEC is to promote free trade through the Asia-Pacific region. Its 21-member economies are home to around 2.8 billion people and represent approximately 59 per cent of world GDP and 49 per cent of world trade in 2015. However, this year U.S. President Donald Trump and Russian leader Vladimir Putin are staying away from Papua New Guinea. Among the top leaders attending the meeting, Xi Jinping is by far the most prominent among the 21 leaders.

A total of $250 billion tariffs has been imposed on China and the country has responded with import tariffs on U.S. goods. Where a total of Chinese tariffs applied exclusively to US amount to $110 billion.

Analysis

At the Asia Pacific Economic Co-operation (APEC) summit in Papua New Guinea, The US Vice President has bluntly stated that the US will not back down from its trade dispute with China, and might even double its tariffs unless Beijing bows to its demands.

Pence stated: “The United States, though, will not change course until China changes its ways.” He also said: “We put tariffs on $250 billion in Chinese goods, and we could more than double that number.”

Also addressing on security concerns in the region Pence said: “We will continue to fly and sail where ever international law allows and our interests demand. Harassment will only strengthen our resolve.”

However, the Vice President remarks vary from President Donald Trump’s recent statements where he said that he may not impose more tariffs after China. he made these statements after Beijing sent the United States a list of measures it was willing to take to resolve trade tensions.

Assessment

Our assessment is that the Vice President’s remarks further reinforces US intent to stay committed to open sea lanes in the region.