(Bloomberg) -- Chile’s biggest social unrest in a generation forced the government to cancel next month’s APEC summit in Santiago where President Donald Trump was expected to sign a preliminary trade accord with China.
Trump had said he expected to ink a “phase one” deal with his counterpart, Xi Jinping, at the Nov. 16-17 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum in Santiago.
How and when the leaders of the world’s two largest economies now meet to resolve their trade differences is the biggest question thrown up by the Chilean decision. The deal, which Trump announced the contours of Oct. 11, had calmed fears of a continuing escalation in the trade war that has cast a shadow over the global economy for the past 18 months.
The cancellation “suggests that the trade war uncertainty might be hanging over us for longer,” Torsten Slok, the chief economist at Deutsche Bank AG, told Bloomberg Television after the announcement. “It raises the risk that we could never see a phase two or phase three.”
Chile also canceled the United Nations climate change conference, known as COP25, scheduled for December in Santiago, President Sebastian Pinera said.
“We understand perfectly the importance of APEC and COP for Chile and the world, but we have based our decision on common sense,” Pinera said from the presidential palace. “A president needs to put its people above everything else.”
The decision to cancel the meetings highlights the depth of trouble facing the Latin American nation that has seen almost two weeks of rioting and protests. It also comes as a deep embarrassment to the government that had insisted it would go ahead with the conference just two days ago.
Pinera said he had spoken to other presidents to warn them of the cancellation.
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