APEC leaders reject 'growth as usual'

08:19, November 16, 2009      

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SINGAPORE: President Hu Jintao joined other leaders at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit yesterday to pursue a new strategy for growth after the global economic crisis and reject protectionism.

The profound impact of the crisis persists and the foundation is not solid enough for a global economic upturn, Hu told the two-day summit that ended yesterday afternoon.

"Economies should take more substantial and effective steps to boost consumption and expand domestic demand," Hu said.

The president returned to Beijing last night after wrapping up a six-day Southeast Asia trip, which brought him to Malaysia and Singapore for state visits and the APEC Leaders' Informal Meeting in the city-state.

The summit capped a weeklong series of APEC events in Singapore with leaders of its 21 member economies, including the United States and China, pushing for efforts to liberalize trade in the region and beyond.

Countries should uphold fair, free and open global trading and investment systems, as well as maintain the free flow of goods, investment and services to help restore world economic growth, Hu said.

Leaders of APEC economies, which account for more than half of the global economy, said they would continue with huge stimulus spending measures "until a durable economic recovery has clearly taken hold".

Leaders said they would also "firmly reject all forms of protectionism and reaffirm our commitment to keep markets open and refrain from raising new barriers to investment or to trade".

According to a concluding declaration at the summit, it was stated that leaders would not "go back to 'growth as usual'," and that a new growth paradigm and model of economic integration was needed.

Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi said last night that many of China's standpoints had been endorsed and included in the declaration.

Leaders at the APEC summit also resolved to push the Doha Round of World Trade Organization negotiations to its finish line, which would be the end of 2010. The round of talks has stalled for eight years.

"China is committed to the establishment of a fair, equitable and non-discriminatory multilateral trading regime and has participated in the Doha Round negotiations with a constructive stance," Hu said.

Hu added that the government was ready to strive to achieve "early, comprehensive and balanced outcomes" at the negotiations.

But an expert said the role of APEC in opposing trade protectionism is "limited".

"It is a loose organization, almost now equal to a forum of dialogue," said Wang Yong, a professor of international political economy at Peking University.

Members have very different interests in APEC, he said. "They have different views on the agenda of (realizing) trade liberalization."

APEC leaders also vowed to work toward positive outcomes at next month's United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, Denmark.

"We reaffirm our commitment to tackle the threat of climate change and work toward an ambitious outcome in Copenhagen," according to a collective statement by leaders.

The statement also highlighted the role of developed nations to bear the financial burden of measures to battle global warming.

"Global action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions will need to be accompanied by measures, including financial assistance and technology transfer to developing economies for their adaptation to the adverse impact of climate change,"the statement said.

AFP contributed to the story

Source:China Daily
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