The European Union is looking Asia-wards for support on free trade, the nuclear deal and fighting global warming. EU leaders met with their counterparts from China, Russia, Japan, Norway and Switzerland to talk about the UK’s Brexit from the world’s biggest trading bloc. The leaders also voiced support for the World Trade Organization (WTO) that US President Donald Trump had threatened to pull out of. Fight against climate change was called out as a priority.
When the leaders were asked if their gathering was anti-Trump, EU diplomacy chief replied that “we don’t organize meetings against anyone”, but Malaysian Deputy Prime Minister Wan Azizah added the US president’s trade tariffs had brought EU and Asia together. “Of course there’s more reason for why we should come closer together. We are working together to help each other for free and fair trade,” Ms. Mogherini said. The EU and Asia also discussed the Rohingya crisis in Myanmar, Ms. Mogherini confirmed, with Myanmar’s minister for international cooperation, Kyaw Tin, in attendance.
During the talks, both sides also underlined “their joint commitment to open, free and non-discriminatory trade” and “to fight all forms of protectionism”. The EU and Asia account for 55% of the global trade. In the meantime, Donald Trump is saying that the US is being treated badly in global trade and has blamed the WTO for making it possible. On a different note, the United States and China have been engaged in a tit-for-tat war – each side has been imposing billions of dollars of tariffs on the other side’s goods while Donald Trump also complained about the EU’s trade surplus with the US.