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At the Asia Pacific Accord Summit, host nation Papua New Guinea accused Chinese officials of intimidation. The Chinese officials were escorted away. For first time in 29 Years, APEC Fails to Issue a Communiqué

A summit of world leaders ended in acrimony Sunday with the host nation accusing Chinese officials of threatening behavior and differences between the U.S. and China preventing delegates from reaching a consensus on trade, security and investment.

Chinese officials demanding a meeting with Papua New Guinea’s foreign minister forced their way into his office Saturday and had to be escorted away by police after a confrontation, according to two senior officials from the host country. China denied the incident happened, dismissing the accounts as “malicious rumors,” and local police didn’t respond to a request for comment.

The midlevel Chinese officials had sought the meeting to voice their unhappiness with the draft language of a proposed statement, an official briefed on the episode said.

For the first time in the summit’s 29-year history, officials ended two days of meetings without issuing a communiqué, with Papua New Guinea’s leader delivering only his summary of failed talks. “You all know who the two big giants in the room were, so what can I say,” Prime Minister Peter O’Neill told reporters.

A senior Trump administration official said Sunday that the dispute largely came down to a single proposed sentence: “We agreed to fight protectionism including all unfair trade practices.”

China wouldn’t agree to that language, believing it amounted to a “singling out” of Chinese trade practices, the U.S. official said. All other 20 APEC nations favored including the language in the final communiqué, the official said.

Meaningless Statement

Ironically, the statement that caused this incident is innocuous. In prior years, nations agreed to similar statements while doing nothing about it for decades. The US, EU, and China are all guilty of stupid tariffs and unfair trade practices.

Typically these summits end with a bunch of infighting over agricultural tariffs with the US saying it would end agricultural tariffs if the EU would.

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That's a safe position by US protectionists because France would never agree to end agricultural tariffs, and France holds an effective EU veto.

You First

You first is precisely why these summits are a waste of time. No country is willing to lead the way.

As I have stated many times, a good trade agreement can be written on a napkin with a crayon:

"Effective immediately, all tariffs and all subsidies on all goods and services are eliminated." The first country to do that, regardless of what any other country does, would be an enormous winner.

Tariffs are Insane

Note that Alan Greenspan Says Trump's Tariffs are "Insane" and He's Right.

China doesn't play fair? So what?

Please consider Reflections and Reader Comments on Free Trade: “China Doesn’t Play Fair!

Mike "Mish" Shedlock