Agreeing on the need to spur new economic growth to counter the global financial crisis, the leaders of 21 nations around the Pacific Rim renewed their call for expanding free trade and resisting protectionist barriers that could make the crisis worse.
Meeting at the annual Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum in Lima, Peru, the leaders pledged to support the measures agreed to by the United States and other major developed and developing economies at the November 15th Summit on Financial Markets and the Global Economy in Washington, and take coordinated steps to put the world economy on the road to recovery.
Representatives at the APEC forum said that their economies will remain in close contact to ensure that their policies will effectively address current financial challenges and restore growth. To do this they re-committed to APEC’s long-term agenda for regional integration as the basis for steps to reform financial institutions, promote economic growth and development, and stimulate trade and investment and consumer spending.
The growing recognition that easing trade barriers will be key in jump-starting stalled economies raises hopes that world leaders will revive the World Trade Organization global trade talks that bogged down in July, before the financial storm hit. A successful Doha Round would increase market access for agricultural and other goods from developed and developing economies.
“We ought to focus our efforts on 3 great forces for economic growth,” U.S. President George Bush told the APEC forum. “They are free markets, free trade and free people.”