Monitors showing Prime Minister Justin Trudeau (middle,top row) with other leaders attending the virtual Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) leaders’ summit, hosted by Malaysia, in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, on Friday. Donald Trump is at the bottom right. (AP Photo/Vincent Thian)
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was set to tout the economic benefits of fighting climate change and doing business with Canada as he participated in the 21-nation Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, or APEC, summit on Friday.
The summit, hosted by Malaysia, and held online because of COVID-19, was slated to focus on the economic impact of pandemic and how to move forward.
It remains unclear how much Trudeau’s words would register because of Canada’s tensions with China and the much larger dispute between Beijing and Washington,.
Both Donald Trump and his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, were participating in Friday’s meeting and could very easily pull focus.
Other leaders attending included Russian President Vladamir Putin and Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga.
In the run-up to the summit, several APEC leaders, including Trudeau and New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, warned against protectionism as the world deals with the economic impact of the pandemic.
Speaking at the APEC CEO Dialogues on Thursday, Trudeau indicated that he planned to call for more of the benefits of free trade and globalization to reach everyday people, as well as to push back against growing protectionism around the world, particularly during the pandemic,
And it comes just days after China joined nearly a dozen other countries in signing onto the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership.
Trudeau stopped short Thursday of saying Canada was interested in joining the new regional partnership, according to Lee Berthiaume of The Canadian Press.
Instead, he suggested Ottawa would be watching to see how Beijing behaves in the trade deal.
China “is an important player in the global economy that we need to try and include and get to play by better international rules,” Trudeau said.
“So if the RCEP deal is able to actually start to create level playing fields, that’s going to be something very, very interesting.
So we’re going to watch carefully.”
With files from The Canadian Press (Lee Berthiaume), CBC News