Trump in Vietnam

The Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation (APEC) summit has been scheduled for the latter half of Friday. Sources state that the focus of the summit is likely to be on a speech by the U.S. President, Donald Trump.

Reports state that the U.S. President is likely to comment on any future role that his country will play in the region. The speech is rumored to concentrate on issues concerning trade and growth. Public opinion holds that Trump’s “America First” slogan, combined with the country’s recent withdrawal from a new regional trade deal, is a move away from free trade.

However, Trump has made positive steps, vowing to correct the huge trade imbalance between China and Japan.

Since coming to his post, the U.S. President has withdrawn his country from the Trans Pacific Partnership. The Partnership, is a major trade deal, agreed upon by 12 APEC member countries. However, Trump argued that the deal would gravely affect the U.S.’ economic interests.

The APEC is a global summit, which brings together nearly 21 economies from either side of the Pacific. Thus, the summit holds nearly 60% of the world’s GDP in attendance. For close to three decades, APEC has also been the venue that the U.S. chose to champion its drive for freer trade and stronger business ties.

However, Trump’s withdrawal led to a change in the dynamic of the group. Trump’s obsession with securing the best cut for the U.S. resulted in a fracture in the group’s bond. Trump has argued that the decades of trade growth registered in the Asia-Pacific has wounded American companies.

While Trump’s decision certainly rattled some cages, the summit appears to have steadied itself since then.

Reports state that the APEC countries are now exploring new trade networks, ones that do not include the United States. The reports also claim that China is looking to fill the void created by the U.S.’ sudden exit.