APEC leaders agree to bolster cooperation to address financial crisis facing region
Manila (25 November) -- The Philippines and other leaders of the 21-member Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) agreed to further strengthen regional cooperation on all fronts to promote growth and development and pave the way for rapid recovery from the most daunting financial and economic challenges the region has faced since the APEC creation in 1989.
President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and the 20 other APEC leaders issued this proclamation in their final declaration at the close of the two-day 16th APEC Leaders Summit on Sunday afternoon (Nov. 23) at the Ministry of Defense (MOD) convention center here.
Peruvian President Alan Garcia Perez read the Spanish text of the APEC leaders' final declaration. This was followed immediately by the simple turnover acceptance speech of Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong of Singapore which will host of the 2009 APEC Leaders Summit.
Afterwards, the President and other APEC leaders, garbed in the traditional Peruvian brown-colored "poncho," had their official group photo taken.
In their declaration, the APEC leaders agreed to liberalize trade and promote investments, support and implement structural economic reforms, improve human security, and promote corporate social responsibility to ensure that all member-economies benefit from globalization.
"The current global financial crisis is one of the most serious economic challenges we have ever faced. We will act quickly and decisively to address the impending global economic slowdown," the leaders said.
In response to the global crisis, the APEC leaders vowed to oppose protectionism by strongly pushing for the conclusión of the World Trade Organization (WTO) Doha Round of Talks, and refrain from raising the current levels of applied import tariffs at least until the end of next year.
"We welcome the monetary and fiscal stimulus provided by APEC member-economies and will take all necessary economic and financial measures to resolve this crisis," the declaration read.
The leaders also endorsed the 2009 work plan for the APEC Regional Economic Integration (REI) agenda, emphasized the importance of strengthening financial markets in the region, and welcomed the capacity-building activities initiated by APEC finance ministers to reform capital markets.
They also affirmed their commitment to strengthen the protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights (IPR) in the region as they welcomed the progress being made by the economies to implement APEC's anti-counterfeiting and piracy initiatives and efforts to improve the patent systems.
The leaders also vowed to improve food security in the region and supported a fully-coordinated response and a comprehensive strategy to tackle this issue through a broad framework for action developed by the United Nations (UN) task force on global food security crisis.
APEC leaders also agreed to cooperate on disaster preparedness and management, and confront the challenges of climate change.
"As a global issue, climate change must be addressed in a comprehensive manner, through international cooperation under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in 2009," they said.
During the summit, the Philippines backed the G20 declaration in Washington last week to reform and strengthen international financing institutions which provide overseas development assístance (ODA) grants and other financial liquidity infusions to developing countries.
The Philippines also reaffirmed its continuing commitment to the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), including the fight against poverty, hunger and food security, terrorism, climate change, energy security and clean development. (PIA-MMIO) [top]