(Bloomberg) -- A gathering of trade ministers of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation group failed to issue a customary joint statement, a day after the US and Russia staged a tit-for-tat walkout during their presentations at the meeting.
The 21-member bloc in Bangkok was unable to issue a joint communique because of differences among some in the grouping, Thailand’s Commerce Minister Jurin Laksanawisit said in a statement on Sunday. Instead, the member economies authorized Thailand to make a statement of the chair, he said.
Officials from the US, Japan, Canada, Australia and New Zealand walked out during remarks by Russia’s Minister of Economic Development Maxim Reshetnikov, Kyodo News reported Saturday. The Russian delegation boycotted a presentation by a US official later in the day, Tass reported. The US delegation was led by Trade Representative Katherine Tai.
On Saturday, Jurin had expressed hope that the meeting would still make progress in discussing key trade matters and issue a possible joint statement. But disagreements over certain parts meant it had to be shelved, he said Sunday.
Russia said that attempts by some APEC members to politicize the event was the reason for a lack of consensus and joint statement, Tass reported, citing Reshetnikov.
Thailand, as the chair and host of the APEC leaders’ summit in November, will consult with members before issuing a statement in the form of documents, Jurin said.
APEC members agreed on the need to move forward in transitioning the bloc into the so-called Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific, or FTAAP, Jurin said. A working group has also been set up to facilitate better links between members in terms of people, goods and services, he said.
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