Chile Cancels November APEC Summit, Sowing Doubt Over Trump-Xi Trade Meeting

President Donald Trump meets with China’s President Xi Jinping at the G20 summit in Osaka, Japan, June 29, 2019. (Kevin Lamarque/Reuters)

Citing recent civic unrest, Chilean President Sebastian Piñera announced during a Wednesday news conference that Chile will cancel the upcoming APEC and COP25 international summits.

The announcement throws a wrench into a planned meeting between President Trump and China’s Xi Jinping over the “phase one” trade deal announced earlier this month between the U.S. and China.

“We understand perfectly the importance of APEC and COP for Chile and the world, but we have based our decision on common sense,” Piñera said at the presidential palace. “A president needs to put its people above everything else.” Piñera also said that other world leaders had been notified to warn them of the impending cancellation.

“Our main concern is reestablishing public order, our citizens’ security and social peace, along with pushing through a social agenda to respond to the main demands of our citizens,” he said.

After announcing the partial deal on October 11, President Trump said the agreement would take several weeks to write and would likely be signed at the APEC summit, which was slated to run from November 16-17. Later reports implied that ironing out the deal’s details would take an extra round of talks.

The provisions of the purported deal include $40 to $50 billion in Chinese purchases of American agricultural products, with further agreements on protections of American intellectual property. The White House had suspended $250 billion in tariff hikes, and suggested earlier this week that tariff exclusions could be extended through December.

The Trump administration released a statement in the aftermath, saying that “as of now, it appears APEC will not occur in Chile, and it’s our understanding the organization does not currently have a secondary site prepared. We’re awaiting potential information regarding another location.” Deputy Press Secretary Hogan Gidley added that the trade deal should be finalized “within the same time frame.”

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