The annual summit of Pacific Rim leaders has ended in Lima, Peru with a show of support for trade liberalization, and a vow to overcome the current global financial crisis. VOA White House Correspondent Paula Wolfson reports it was the final summit for U.S. President George Bush.
The 21 members of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation forum say they believe the current global financial crisis can be overcome in 18 months.
In a joint declaration, participants in this year's APEC summit also say they want to breathe new life into stalled world-trade talks. They say they are instructing their trade ministers to meet in Geneva next month to revive negotiations.
Peruvian President Alan Garcia pushed to have the language included in the declaration.
As he closed the summit, he said the members of APEC - representing roughly one half of the world economy - will tackle the economic crisis together.
"Know that this crisis will be overcome by all of us," said President Garcia.
Best known, perhaps, for its group photo of leaders in the traditional dress of the host country, this year's APEC meeting had a serious tone from start to finish.
Leaders focused immediately on the spreading economic downturn, and reviewed steps already taken and proposed to spur economic growth. They showed their support for the plan of action adopted by the recent emergency meeting in Washington of 20 of the world's largest industrialized and emerging economies, including a one-year ban on all new barriers to trade.
President Bush came to Lima determined to win support for the principles adopted by the so-called Group of 20. Throughout his stay in Peru, he urged Pacific Rim leaders to work together to cure the world's economic ills instead of turning inward. In a speech to a gathering of business leaders, he sounded optimistic.
"As we look to the future, the tasks facing our nations are no doubt demanding," said President Bush. "Recovering from the financial crisis is going to take time. But we'll recover, and in so doing, begin a new era of prosperity."
This was Mr. Bush's final summit and may prove to be his last foreign tour in office before Barack Obama is sworn in as the new president of the United States on January 20.
Mr. Obama did not send a representative to Lima. But as Air Force One was taking off from Peru, plans were being made for next year's Pacific Rim summit in Singapore when the new U.S. president will make his APEC debut.