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China's President Xi Jinping, left, and U.S. President Donald Trump on the final day of the APEC CEO Summit in Danang, Vietnam, on Nov. 10, 2017.   © Reuters

Trump and Xi in spat over trade policy

U.S. president hails bilateral deals, Chinese leader defends multilateralism

KEN KOYANAGI and ERWIDA MAULIA, Nikkei staff writers | China

DANANG, Vietnam -- The leaders of the world's two largest economies on Friday aired starkly contrasting views on international trade at a business leaders' conference ahead of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit, due to start on Saturday. Immediately after U.S. President Donald Trump declared he wants bilateral trade deals with every APEC country, Chinese President Xi Jinping countered by re-emphasizing the importance of multilateralism for producing "inclusive" benefits.

Trump harshly criticized subsidies and the practices of state-owned enterprises which are common in China and other emerging economies, saying they were one of the reasons why multilateral trading arrangements, including the World Trade Organization, tended not to function favorably for open market economies like the U.S.

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