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Business

APEC to speed up free trade and boost sluggish growth

The summit of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) has ended with a pledge from member states to make greater efforts towards free trade. Moreover, APEC members seek to become engines for global growth.

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APEC on track for trade deal

The 21 nations of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) group promised to redouble efforts to liberalize trade and investment in the region.

Speaking at the end of a two-day APEC summit in Bali on Tuesday, Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono said the Asia-Pacific leaders reaffirmed their commitment to achieve open trade and investment by 2020.

Yudhoyono also said that the group's members, including economic heavyweights such as China, the United States, Russia and Japan, would seek strong, balanced, sustainable and inclusive global growth.

Moreover, APEC members aimed to accelerate connectivity through improved communications and transport, he said.

“We shared the view that connectivity could help reduce production and transportation costs, strengthen regional supply chains and improve the business climate in the region,” he added.

In a final document, APEC leaders warned that global growth was likely to be slower and less balanced than desired. Noting that the risks were tilted to the downside, the document also included a commitment by APEC members to ensure fiscal sustainability, boost domestic growth and increase domestic savings.

Trans-Pacific Partnership for free trade

In a separate meeting, APEC's 12 strongest economies, except China, vowed to press ahead with a free-trade pact, called Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).

In a statement issued Tuesday, the 12 leaders said they had made significant progress in setting standards for trade in goods and services, as well as for investment and public procurement.

The TTP group, which includes Australia, Japan, Chile, Japan, New Zealand, Canada and the United States among others, expressed the hope of reaching a comprehensive trade deal by the end of the year.

uhe/hc (dpa, AP, Reuters)

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