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Cooperation needed to build harmony, overcome crisis
Updated: 2008-11-24 14:24

LIMA -- Leaders of the 21 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) members concluded their annual meeting here Sunday   with "A New Commitment to Asia-Pacific Development."

"We are committed to strengthening the social dimension of globalization and ensuring that all members and all sectors of our economies can access the skills and opportunities to participate in, and benefit from, regional and global trade and investment," the leaders said in a declaration issued after the summit.

Two years ago, Chinese President Hu Jintao urged APEC member economies to build a harmonious Asia-Pacific region, a proposal echoed by other leaders attending a summit in Hanoi, Vietnam.

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In the Hanoi declaration, the leaders pledged to "continue our work towards a dynamic and harmonious Asia-Pacific community by building strong societies for the well-being of our people."

The leaders gathered again this year in Lima, mapping out the future for APEC and making a new commitment to the region's development.

Since it was founded 19 years ago, the regional economic bloc has created a unique "APEC mode," which recognizes diversity, emphasizes flexibility, progressiveness and openness, and follows the principle of mutual respect, equality and mutual benefit.

In order to build "a dynamic and harmonious Asia-Pacific community," the cooperation of APEC member economies within the framework of the regional organization always abides by the mode, whose key points are cooperation and coordination.

Fresh action is needed now to honor the new commitment made in the Lima declaration. APEC members should strengthen cooperation and consultation to coordinate their development and attain the Bogor Goals, which regard free and open trade and investment in the Asia-Pacific region as a "key organizing principle and driving force."

The Bogor Goals were spelt out at a 1994 APEC economic leaders' summit in Bogor, Indonesia.

In a special statement on the current global financial crisis, the leaders called on APEC members to cooperate with each other in restoring confidence in their economies and steering the region along a path of long-term growth.

"We have already taken urgent and extraordinary steps to stabilize our financial sectors and strengthen economic growth and promote investment and consumption," the statement said. "We will continue to take such steps, and work closely, in a coordinated and comprehensive manner, to implement future actions to address this crisis."

Both coordination and cooperation are key to trade and investment facilitation and the regional economic integration.

The statement also showed APEC members' common desire for the healthy development of a multilateral trade system, and their determination to push forward the Doha Round of World Trade Organization talks.

APEC members differ in their economic systems, as well as the level of economic development, and trade and investment liberalization.

Therefore, they should not only coordinate their moves to realize common development in the Asia-Pacific region, but also seek a balance between financial supervision and liberalization to cope with the global financial crisis.

In the Lima Declaration issued Sunday, APEC leaders "highlighted the importance of reducing the gap between developed and developing member economies" in the face of the financial storm.

"We welcomed 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 said.

In fact, APEC member economies have already taken action to reduce the impact of the financial crisis on the global economy.

In a bid to curb the further deterioration of the global economic and financial situation, the Chinese government has adopted even stronger measures to boost domestic demand. Between the fourth quarter this year and the end of 2010, China will invest an additional 4 trillion yuan (584 billion U.S. dollars) to accelerate projects related to people's livelihood, infrastructure, the eco-environment and post-disaster reconstruction.

At the just-concluded annual APEC forum in the Peruvian capital, leaders and senior officials repeatedly called for cooperation among member economies to abandon trade protectionism, further open their markets and boost trade liberalization in the region.

As long as APEC member economies' appeal for cooperation is turned into practical action, the Asia-Pacific region will enter a new development stage in building a harmonious community and finally tide over the financial crisis.

If APEC members can actively consult with each other to realize coordinated development by putting their consensus into practice, the new commitment made at the Lima summit will bring fresh impetus for harmony in the region.