Declaration 'set to bring new vitality to economy'

By Zhao Huanxin ( China Daily )

Updated: 2013-10-08

Free and open trade 'is imperative to sustainable growth'

The APEC grouping of nations and regions has been injected with a "new vitality" following the conclusion of its summit meeting on Tuesday, with a declaration reaffirming the pledge to drive global economic recovery.

Wang Yusheng, China's former senior official at APEC, said leaders at the premier economic forum had reached a broad consensus echoing the summit's theme of "Resilient Asia-Pacific, engine of global growth".

The Bali declaration, issued on Tuesday at the end of a two-day meeting at the Indonesian island resort, said, "We have full confidence in the prospect of Asia-Pacific's economic development and we are committed to playing a leading role in the global economic recovery."

Wang, who is executive director of the Strategy Study Center at the China Foundation for International Studies, said, "The outcome of the summit will endow the APEC region with more vigor."

He said emerging economies, including APEC members like China and Indonesia, had been adversely affected by quantitative easing monetary policies and other measures adopted by some developed countries in recent years.

"But these economies, including developing countries in APEC and the BRICS, have exhibited strong growth momentum," he said.

GDP growth in the APEC region is expected to increase from 4.2 percent in 2013 to 4.7 percent in 2014, according to an International Monetary Fund forecast.

Nevertheless, the Bali declaration said, "Global growth is too weak, risks remain tilted to the downside, global trade is weakening and the economic outlook suggests growth is likely to be slower and less balanced than desired."

To achieve sustainable growth, it is imperative to realize the Bogor Goals of free and open trade and investment and to curb trade protectionism, Wang said, adding that he was in Bogor, Indonesia, for talks in 1994 to set the objectives.

"Developed countries are required to meet the Bogor Goals by 2010, but the United States, Japan and some other advanced nations have yet to do so," Wang said.

Wang noted that the Bali statement had reiterated the APEC leaders' commitment to upholding APEC's goal of achieving the Bogor Goals of free and open trade and investment by 2020.

As to promoting connectivity, the APEC leaders vowed to shape the strategic landscape of the region through a long-term commitment that will accelerate physical, institutional, and people-to-people connectivity, according to the declaration.

Wang said it was equally important to enhance connectivity by stepping up the pace of economic and technological cooperation across the region, citing the building of cooperative high-tech industrial parks in APEC members as a boon to regional economic growth.

Ruan Zongze, vice-president of the China Institute of International Studies, said he believes the Bali summit served to "recalibrate the forum's focus on the economic agenda" by stressing heavily the Bogor Goals and supporting the multilateral trading system.

APEC, established in 1989 to commit to dismantling barriers and nurturing closer economic ties, has long been undermined by anti-terrorism discussions and deliberations about forming various free trade arrangements, Ruan said.


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