Fearing U.S. Protectionism, ASEAN Pledges Unity

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An Association of Southeast Asian Nations summit meeting concluded in Thailand on March 1 with a renewed consensus (.pdf) against protectionism and in support of free trade. In a rare moment of unity for the alliance’s 10 members, the ASEAN foreign ministers signed a free-trade agreement with Australia and New Zealand, while finance ministers of ASEAN Plus Three — China, Japan, and South Korea — expanded their emergency foreign currency fund from $80 billion to $120 billion. ASEAN’s anti-protectionist stance appears to be driven by concerns over exports to the United States, in light of President Barack Obama’s campaign promises […]

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