APEC leaders renew commitment to economic integration
SYDNEY (10 September) -- Leaders of the 21-member Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum renewed their commitment to regional economic integration, free and open markets and to the security of their people in their joint declaration at the end of their two-day 15th Summit here Sunday.
Promoting open, efficient, transparent and flexible economies, the APEC leaders said, is vital to continuing economic growth and the building of a strong and sustainable future for the Asia-Pacific community.
"This provides the best protection against economic volatility and disruption caused by natural disasters and other threats to sustainable growth," the joint statement said.
The APEC is composed of Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Peru, the Philippines, Russia, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, the United States and Vietnam.
The APEC economies' commitment to open markets and economic cooperation, according to the leaders, has generated substantial regional integration that enabled the Pacific Rim nations to outstrip the rest of the world in economic growth, thereby reducing by half the number of people living in poverty in the region since 1989.
They agreed to accelerate efforts towards this objective by:
further reducing barriers to trade and investment through free trade agreements and regional trading arrangements;
improving economic efficiency and the regional business environment, including capital markets; and
facilitating integration in sectors such as transportation, telecommunications, mining and energy.
"We have asked ministers and officials to carry forward this work and report back to us in 2008 with a summary of steps taken to promote regional economic integration," the leaders said.
Next year's APEC conference is slated in Lima, Peru.
A successful conclusion to the Doha Round remains APEC's primary trade priority. The leaders took note of the views of the APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC) on the importance of enhancing the convergence of trade agreements in the region.
The APEC leaders likewise reaffirmed their commitment to combat corruption and promote good governance in order to build prosperity and a predictable business environment.
"The APEC statement on 'Fighting Corruption Through Improved International Legal Cooperation' reinforces our strong commitment to strengthening cooperation on extradition, prosecution, mutual legal assistance and the recovery of proceeds of corruption," the statement said.
Believing that human security is essential to economic growth and prosperity, the APEC leaders resolved to enhance their countries' cooperation on challenges to human security.
They reaffirmed their commitment to dismantle terrorist groups, eliminate the danger posed by the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, and protect their economic and financial systems from abuse by terrorist groups.
The leaders agreed that energy security is best met through efficient energy markets, characterized by free and open trade, secure and transparent frameworks for investment, clear price signals, market transparency, effective governance and competition. (OPS/PIA) [top]