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APEC officials call for multilateral free trade

Jiji PressDA NANG, Vietnam (Jiji Press) — Ministers of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum member economies on Wednesday discussed ways to promote multilateral free trade at a time when U.S. President Donald Trump is prioritizing bilateral trade relations.

Later in the day, the APEC ministers were expected to release a ministerial statement to wrap up their meeting in Da Nang, central Vietnam.

At the meeting, Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono stressed Tokyo’s policy of realizing a broad accord on a new Trans-Pacific Partnership deal among 11 countries, excluding the United States, which left the multilateral framework in January.

Kono called for boosting efforts to advance multilateral free trade.

At the day’s meeting, the ministers also discussed ways to prevent protectionist trade policy measures that would negatively affect the global economy, sources with access to the ministerial talks said.

While the United States has suggested it will not hesitate to launch unilateral sanctions, Japanese trade minister Hiroshige Seko called on APEC partners to show resolve to fight protectionist moves and promote free trade, the sources said.Speech

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