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APEC leaders pledge further actions to tackle global financial crisis
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Leaders of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) member economies promised on Saturday to take further actions to deal with the global financial crisis.

In a statement issued in Peru's capital Lima, on the first day of their two-day summit, the leaders said they discussed the impact of the financial crisis and the actions APEC members are taking, individually and collectively, to restore confidence in their economies and maintain the region on 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," it said.

The leaders pledged support for efforts by export credit agencies, international financial institutions and private banks to ensure that adequate finance is available to business, including small and medium-sized enterprises, and to keep trade and investment flowing in the region.

Effective financial regulatory and supervisory tools

They also welcomed continued development and innovation in the financial sector and called for more effective regulatory and supervisory tools as financial systems deepen and become more complex.

"The crisis also highlights the need to develop more effective standards of corporate governance and risk management as well as the importance of social responsibility in the financial sector," said the statement.

Support for Washington declaration

Meanwhile, the APEC leaders expressed support for the Washington Declaration adopted at the G-20 summit in Washington earlier this month and the common principles that will guide the Action Plan for financial markets reform.

"In this regard, we strongly support the broad policy response needed to restore global economic growth and stability through: closer macroeconomic cooperation; avoiding negative spillovers; supporting emerging and developing economies; and comprehensively reforming and strengthening the IFIs (international financial institutions) to reflect the increasing voice and representation of emerging and developing economies and be more responsive to future challenges," said the statement.

The leaders reiterated their "firm belief that free market principles, and open trade and investment regimes, will continue to drive global growth, employment and poverty reduction."

They recognized that the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank and other multilateral development banks have a critical role in assisting economies affected by the financial crisis and require sufficient and readily available resources.

The IMF, they said, with its focus on surveillance, should strengthen collaboration with other IFIs, enhancing efforts to integrate regulatory and supervisory responses into the macro-prudential policy framework and conduct early warning exercises.

"We endorse the APEC Finance Ministers' encouragement for our economies, where applicable, to participate in the IMF/World Bank Financial Sector Assessment Program taking into account the level of development and the specific conditions of each member economy.

No new barriers to investment and trade

The leaders also promised not to raise new barriers to investment and trade in the next 12 months.

They admitted the risk that slower world economic growth could lead to calls for protectionist measures which would exacerbate the current economic situation.

"In this regard, we strongly support the Washington Declaration and will refrain within the next 12 months from raising new barriers to investment or to trade in goods and services, imposing new export restrictions, or implementing World Trade Organization (WTO) inconsistent measures in all areas, including those that stimulate exports," the statement said.

Support for Doha round talks

On the Doha Round of WTO trade talks, the APEC leaders expressed their hope for "an ambitious and balanced conclusion" to lay the foundation for the economic growth and prosperity in the region.

"We are committed to reach agreement on modalities next month on the basis of progress made to date," said the statement.

The leaders also reaffirmed their commitment to the Bogor Goals of free and open trade and investment in the Asia-Pacific region as a "key organizing principle and driving force" for APEC.

"We instruct APEC ministers and officials to accelerate implementation of the measures contained in our Regional Economic Integration Agenda, including a possible Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific as a long-term prospect and intensifying work on structural reform," the statement said.

The global financial crisis would not shake their determination to address important challenges facing the region, including climate change, energy security and clean development, said the leaders.

"We will stand by our international commitments in these areas, including in Official Development Assistance and the Millennium Development Goals," they said.

The "Bogor Goals," adopted by APEC leaders at their 1994 summit in Bogor, Indonesia, specify the APEC objectives for free and open trade and investment among industrialized members by 2010, and among developing members by 2020.

A total of 19 leaders from the APEC member economies attended the summit that began Saturday afternoon.

APEC, established in 1989, groups Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, China, China's Hong Kong, Chinese Taipei, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Peru, the Philippines, Russia, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand, the United States and Vietnam.

(Xinhua News Agency November 23, 2008)

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