APEC leaders agree on growth strategy

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The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) leaders agreed Sunday to formulate a growth strategy to match a changing economic environment.

According to "The APEC Leaders' Growth Strategy" adopted towards the conclusion of the 18th APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting (AELM), the Pacific-rim economies aim to achieve balanced, inclusive, sustainable, innovative, and secure growth.

Admitting constant innovation and increased use of information and communications technologies (ICTs) have contributed to dramatically expanded trade, enhanced productivity, and wider and faster financial and information flows, the leaders recognized that APEC members cannot continue with "growth as usual" and "the quality of growth" needs to be improved, so that it will be more balanced, inclusive, sustainable, innovative, and secure.

To this end, the leaders mapped out an action plan for the strategy, which encompasses the critical integrated work elements such as structural reform, human resource and entrepreneurship development, green growth, knowledge-based economy and human security.

"Structural reform, along with appropriate macroeconomic policies, is essential in achieving strong, sustained, and balanced economic growth," noted the document, which also called for the implementation of an APEC Green Plan and the "Action Plan for Developing Human Resources, Vigorously Promoting Employment, and Achieving Inclusive Growth" adopted at the APEC Human Resources Development Ministerial Meeting in Beijing in September 2010.

The Strategy, meanwhile, urged strong APEC-wide efforts to create a regional business environment that fosters innovation and entrepreneurship, and pushed for enhanced cooperation and coordination within the APEC to reduce threats and disruptions to business and trade.

To ensure multi-year follow-up and the Strategy's implementation, APEC senior officials need to conduct annual progress reviews on APEC's relevant work programs and find ways to "maximize APEC's efforts to promote the Five Growth Attributes."

They are supposed to report to APEC leaders in 2015, for their review, on the regional body's progress in promoting the APEC Growth Strategy.

The AELM opened Saturday at the culmination of the APEC Leaders' Week meetings. The two-day meeting concluded with the adoption of a leaders' declaration, a growth strategy, and documents on a free trade area of the Asia-Pacific and the Bogor Goals of free and open trade and investment.

The APEC Leaders' Week meetings, held on Nov. 7-14 in Japan's second largest city of Yokohama, also included the APEC Business Advisory Council meeting on Nov. 8-10, annual Ministerial Meeting on Nov. 10-11 and a CEO Summit on Nov. 12-13.

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