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October 08, 2013

APEC Pledges Closer Economic Cooperation

by Kate Lamb

As slowing economic growth in China and India puts pressure on the global economy, leaders at the Asia Pacific Economic Forum in Bali, Indonesia, have agreed to ramp up trade and reject protectionist measures. 
 
In a joint statement issued on the closing day of the APEC summit, global leaders committed to boosting global growth with “prudent and responsible” policies.
 
Leaders described global growth as ‘weak,’ and called on nations to avoid protectionism amid an anemic global outlook.
 
Contractions in Asian powerhouses China and India have seen the Asian Development Bank revise its regional forecast to a four-year low in 2013.
 
Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono told APEC participants Tuesday that interconnectivity is crucial to maintaining global economic stability.
 
"Close cooperation will result in a win-win situation, especially at a time when the global economy has yet to fully recover," he said.
 
​​​​During this week’s meetings, some nations had hoped to make progress on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a 12-nation trade bloc.
 
Analysts suggest that momentum for TPP talks slowed because of the absence of U.S president Barack Obama. The U.S.-led trade bloc that excludes China would account for $28 trillion in annual economic output.
 
Chinese President Xi Jinping and U.S Secretary of State John Kerry said they would both work with countries to boost investment and trade. Kerry also sought to offer reassurance the U.S remains committed to its Asia pivot.

At a time when leaders look to shore up trade ties and economic volatility threatens emerging markets, President Yudhoyono called for economic growth that is sustainable and inclusive.
 
"In view of the scarcity of our finite resources, we agreed to cooperate in enhancing regional food, energy and water security," he said. "This effort is also aimed at responding to the challenge of population growth and the adverse impact of climate change. At this Bali Summit, we began to look at this matter in (a) holistic manner."
 
As the APEC summit comes to a close, many leaders will now travel to neighboring Brunei for the East Asia Summit on Wednesday.
 
The Association of Southeast Asian Nations forum will focus on the ASEAN Economic Community, a regional free bloc planned to come into effect in 2015.