Protectionist Trump brings Japan, China and S Korea on one platform

06 May 2017


Japan, China and South Korea have resolved to boost economic and financial ties and resist protectionist policies advocated by US President Donald Trump in order to derisk Asian economies of the fallout of such polices. 


Japan and China also today kicked off their first bilateral financial dialogue in two years to discuss risks to Asia's economic outlook, including the fallout of US President Donald Trump's protectionist policies and tension over North Korea, reports said.

"We actively exchanged views on economic and financial situations in Japan and China and our cooperation in the financial field," Japanese finance minister Taro Aso told reporters after the meeting, which included senior finance ministry and central bank officials.

Ministers and central bank governors, including Japanese finance minister Aso, Bank of Japan governor Haruhiko Kuroda and Chinese vice-minister of finance Yaobin earlier4 met for the Asean+3 conference on the sidelines of the Asian Development Bank's (ADB) annual meeting in Yokohama, Japan, on Friday.

During their trilateral meeting, Asian giants China, Japan and South Korea also agreed to take a united stand against the protectionism advocated by US President Donald Trump and resist all forms of protectionist policies obstructing free trade.

"We agree that trade is one of the most important engines of economic growth and development, which contribute to productivity improvements and job creations," the finance ministers and central bank governors of the three countries said in a joint communique issued after the trilateral meeting

Chinese finance minister Xiao Jie, who missed a trilateral meeting with his Japanese and South Korean counterparts on Friday for an emergency domestic meeting, has flown in for the bilateral dialogue, seeking to dispel speculation his absence had diplomatic implications.

Xiao and Japanese Finance Minister Taro Aso will discuss issues ranging from North Korea's nuclear and missile programme to the two countries' economic outlook and financial cooperation during the dialogue.

Senior finance officials from both countries will also hold a separate round of talks, Japanese finance ministry officials say.

Although relations between Japan and China have been strained over territorial disputes and China's increasing foray into the global infrastructure space and the setting up of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), the two countries agree on the need to respect free trade, which is crucial to Asia's trade-dependent economies

China, which has positioned itself as a supporter of free trade in the wake of Trump's calls to put America's interests first and pull out of multilateral trade agreements, is trying to occupy the space left by the US.

Japan, an ally of the United States, has been more accommodative toward Washington's argument that trade must not just be free but fair as well.

Trump has, however, distanced himself from the pre-election rhetoric with the G20 developed and major emerging economies took a stronger stand against protectionist policies advocated by US President Donald Trump.

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