World News

Russia's Putin questions U.S.-led TPP trade pact arrangements

Russia's President Vladimir Putin (R) arrives to participate in a working session on the global economy with fellow world leaders at the start of the G20 summit at the Regnum Carya Resort in Antalya, Turkey, November 15, 2015. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russian President Vladimir Putin criticised on Tuesday the way the U.S.-backed Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal is being arranged, saying the “clandestine talks” do not promote stability in Asia Pacific.

His comments were published on the Kremlin website just days before the Nov. 18-19 summit of Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), which the Russian leader said should play a greater role in regional trade.

The TPP deal, reached on Oct. 5 after marathon talks between the United States and 11 Pacific Rim nations, aims to liberalise commerce in 40 percent of the world’s economy and would be a legacy-defining victory for President Barack Obama.

Putin, in his article posted on the Kremlin website, said the creation of new trade zones has promoted liberalisation of trade and investments in the Asia Pacific region. Russia is not a part of TPP.

“However, the confidential nature of Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) hardly facilitates sustainable development of Asia Pacific,” Putin said, without elaborating.

Obama wants a 12-nation TPP to help boost U.S. influence in East Asia and counter the rise of China. Beijing officially welcomed the pact, saying it hoped the deal would promote Asia-Pacific trade.

APEC, which accounts for 60 percent of global output and nearly half of world trade, is aiming for a larger free-trade area for its 21 economies by 2025, but a re-emergence in some states of protectionism as growth stutters could be a hindrance.

Putin, who will not attend the summit in Manila, said APEC’s role as coordinator of various integration initiatives aimed at “creation of open and non-discriminatory market free of bloc barriers” should be promoted.

Reporting by Vladimir Soldatkin; Editing by Catherine Evans