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APEC leaders promise not to raise new barriers to investment, trade
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10:49, November 23, 2008

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Leaders of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) member economies promised Saturday not to raise new barriers to investment and trade in the next 12 months.

In a statement issued in Peru's capital Lima, on the first day of their two-day summit, the leaders admitted the risk that slower world economic growth could lead to calls for protectionist measures which would exacerbate the current economic situation.

"In this regard, we strongly support the Washington Declaration and will refrain within the next 12 months from raising new barriers to investment or to trade in goods and services, imposing new export restrictions, or implementing World Trade Organization (WTO) inconsistent measures in all areas, including those that stimulate exports," the statement said.

On the Doha Round of WTO trade talks, the APEC leaders expressed their hope for "an ambitious and balanced conclusion" to lay the foundation for the economic growth and prosperity in the region.

"We are committed to reach agreement on modalities next month on the basis of progress made to date," said the statement.

The leaders also reaffirmed their commitment to the Bogor Goals of free and open trade and investment in the Asia-Pacific region as a "key organizing principle and driving force" for APEC.

"We instruct APEC Ministers and officials to accelerate implementation of the measures contained in our Regional Economic Integration Agenda, including a possible Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific as a long-term prospect and intensifying work on structural reform," the statement said.

The global financial crisis would not shake their determination to address important challenges facing the region, including climate change, energy security and clean development, said the leaders.

"We will stand by our international commitments in these areas, including in Official Development Assistance and the Millennium Development Goals," they said. The 16th APEC Leaders' Meeting was being held in Lima on Saturday and Sunday.

Source: Xinhua

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