PM Lee Hsien Loong in Peru to discuss free trade at Apec Summit

A meeting of the Apec Business Advisory Council in Lima, Peru, on Monday. PM Lee, who is arriving in the country today for a five-day trip, will attend the Apec Economic Leaders' Meeting, hold bilateral meetings with other leaders and take part in a
A meeting of the Apec Business Advisory Council in Lima, Peru, on Monday. PM Lee, who is arriving in the country today for a five-day trip, will attend the Apec Economic Leaders' Meeting, hold bilateral meetings with other leaders and take part in a panel discussion at the Chief Executive Officer Summit.PHOTO: EUROPEAN PRESSPHOTO AGENCY

Leaders of 12 Trans-Pacific Partnership signatory countries to meet on sidelines to find a way forward

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong arrives in Peru today for the annual Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) Summit, at which leaders of 21 economies are expected to discuss the future of free trade amid rising anti-globalisation sentiments worldwide.

On the sidelines, the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) will be on the agenda as leaders of the pact's 12 signatory countries, including US President Barack Obama, meet to find a way forward after last week's US presidential election.

US President-elect Donald Trump won on an anti-free trade platform, and the landmark trade deal now hangs in the balance as it can come into force only if it is approved by six countries that account for at least 85 per cent of the group's economic output.

This means that ratification by the United States, given the giant size of its economy, is crucial. The other countries include Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam.

Mr Lee, in an interview on Monday, expressed his disappointment that the deal is unlikely to be passed by US lawmakers since Mr Trump "had no sympathy for the TPP at all".

Events around the globe this year, such as the US presidential election and Brexit - the referendum in which Britons voted to leave the European Union - have reflected the anti-globalisation backlash against the rise in world trade, integration of economies and freer movement of people.

Critics say these are the causes of growing income inequality and local industries being driven out of business.

Events around the globe this year, such as the US presidential election and Brexit - the referendum in which Britons voted to leave the European Union - have reflected the anti-globalisation backlash against the rise in world trade, integration of economies and freer movement of people.

Critics say these are the causes of growing income inequality and local industries being driven out of business.

The Apec Economic Leaders' Meeting on Saturday and Sunday, which Mr Lee will attend, will focus on the challenges to free trade and investment in the current global climate, as well as connectivity in the Asia-Pacific region, food security and environmental concerns, said the Prime Minister's Office in a statement.

Mr Lee will also take part in a panel discussion - The DNA of Global Growth - on Friday, at the Chief Executive Officer Summit on the important economic and business issues of the day.

 

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During his five-day trip, he will hold bilateral meetings with other Apec leaders and is expected to make an introductory call on Peruvian President Pedro Kuczynski, who took office in July this year.

Mr Lee will be accompanied by his wife, Minister for Trade and Industry (Trade) Lim Hng Kiang, Senior Minister of State for Defence and Foreign Affairs Maliki Osman, as well as other senior government officials.

Mr Lim and Dr Maliki will participate in the Apec Ministerial Meeting tomorrow and on Friday.

During Mr Lee's absence, Deputy Prime Minister and Coordinating Minister for National Security Teo Chee Hean will be the Acting Prime Minister.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 16, 2016, with the headline 'PM Lee in Peru to discuss free trade at Apec Summit'. Print Edition | Subscribe