The world's business and political leaders currently converge in Singapore for the week-long APEC meetings to explore ways to promote economic growth, cooperation, trade and investment across the Asia-Pacific region.
The main topics for the APEC meetings, themed "Sustaining Growth, Connecting the Region" this year, are as follows.
Regional economic integration and trade protectionism
Key business leaders of the Asia Pacific region have agreed that it is now time for the APEC to take more decisive actions towards establishing a Free Trade Area of the Asia Pacific (FTAAP)in view of the financial crisis and the stalled Doha Round negotiations.
The business industry expresses caution about signs of the economic recovery and urges political leaders to take steps to ensure that this is sustained. They believe that this can be done if economies resist protectionism, promote global demand rather than just domestic demand and that they take the opportunity to undertake economic reforms. And that setting a firm time frame for bringing an FTAAP into reality would send a very strong signal about APEC' s commitment to accelerating the integration of their economies.
Delegates also see the successful conclusion of the Doha Round no later than 2010 as not only providing a major stimulus to global trade and investments but also to deal effectively with persisting protectionism.