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Duterte not taking sides in US-China trade war but prefers Xi Jinping’s pro-trade liberalization push

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The Philippines is not taking any side amid the possible trade war between the United States and China, according to Malacanang.

President Rodrigo R. Duterte had emphasized during his bilateral meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping on Tuesday the need for Beijing to “defend the East” isolationist trade policies, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said.

“He basically reiterated we’re not siding. There was no mention against from whom. But of course, this was in relation to the possible trade war between China and the US,” Roque said in a press conference in Hongkong on Wednesday night.

He said everyone at the Boao Forum for Asia attended by Duterte had emphasized the need to further strengthen and speed up trade liberalization “to benefit everyone, rather than a return to isolationist trade policies.”

“Everyone basically in the meeting was talking about globalization, trade liberalization and of course that Asia was benefitting greatly from globalization and trade liberalization,” Roque said.

“So, basically it was an endorsement of China’s position that the world trading system should be governed by the rules-based WTO (World Trade Organization) system, and that there should be no obstacles to further globalizations and liberalization,” he explained.(PNA)