Pacific Rim leaders back open trade in Apec summit
VLADIVOSTOK, Russia—Pacific Rim leaders on Sunday pledged to fend off the deepening damage from the European crisis and revive flagging growth in the region by supporting open trade, reforming their economies and strengthening public finances.
The 21-member Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) forum wrapped up an annual summit in this far eastern Russian seaport on Sunday, vowing to work together to support growth and restore confidence in shaken financial markets.
“Our work was constructive. We have specific results and I am satisfied with the outcome of the work,” Russian President Vladimir Putin said of the event, which showcased Moscow’s ambitions to expand trade and business along its long-neglected Pacific coast.
The leaders issued a statement welcoming European leaders’ promises to help stabilize the crisis-stricken euro region, and warning against “excess volatility” and distortions in financial markets.
The Apec leaders said they would work to reduce deficits and imbalances in their countries’ own finances.
“The events in Europe are adversely affecting growth in the region. In such circumstances, we are resolved to work collectively to support growth and foster financial stability, and restore confidence,” the statement said.
“We remain committed to reducing imbalances by strengthening deficit economies’ public finances with sound and sustainable policies that take into account evolving economic conditions,” it said.
Despite signs that robust growth in the dynamic Asia-Pacific region has been sapped by reduced demand for the area’s exports, Putin described the attitude among his fellow leaders as one of “constrained optimism.”
Asia, generally, is not as heavily burdened as Europe with soaring social welfare costs, he said.
“There is nothing like the burden that exists in Europe,” Putin said, though he acknowledged that the region faces many problems. AP
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