ASEAN KEY DESTINATIONS
APEC meeting focuses on new growth strategy
Issues to be discussed would probably include trade and investment; and efforts to promote sustainable, inclusive and balanced development, and expedite structural reforms that will unleash entrepreneurship and innovation as well as address structural imbalances, much like the recent G20 agenda.
Although the APEC region has become the world's growth centre by promoting free and open trade and economic integration, APEC leaders had declared in Lima, Peru in 2008, the need for a strategy on growth, recognising that challenges such as further environmental sustainability and social inclusiveness are essential to the future prosperity and well-being of its citizens.
"Threats of currency and trade wars, growing risks to region-wide food security, energy and environmental crises, and destabilising fiscal, public debt and trade imbalances in some member countries, are some of the pressing issues that the conference should seek to address while finding a new direction for the regional grouping amid the fragile global recovery," said RAM Holdings Bhd Chief Economist Dr. Yeah Kim Leng.
APEC groups 21 member economies which account for about 40.5 percent of the world's population, 54.2 percent of world GDP and 43.7 percent of world trade.
Its members are Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Peru, the Philippines, Russia, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, United States of America and Vietnam.
In addressing the fallouts from the global financial crisis to this region, Dr. Yeah said the grouping serves the purpose of exchanging viewpoints, forging understanding and consensus among policy makers while identifying priorities for common actions and capacity building.
In accelerating regional economic integration, he said more can be done aside from working towards a free trade area.
"The more developed members could better assist the less developed ones with more funding and technical assistance to raise the level of education, skills training, R&D, indigenous technological capabilities and market development," he added.
On issues that Malaysia should raise during the conference, he said it could be on ways APEC could assist its members to shield their economies from volatile currency markets, competitive devaluations, unstable as well as sharp increases in commodity prices.
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