Thu, September 06, 2012
World > Asia-Pacific > APEC 2012 in Russia

APEC leaders mull regional growth amid bumpy global recovery

2012-09-06 05:00:43 GMT2012-09-06 13:00:43(Beijing Time)  Xinhua English

by Han Liang, Liu Kai

VLADIVOSTOK, Sept. 6 (Xinhua) -- Leaders of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) economies will meet in Russia's Far Eastern city of Vladivostok at the weekend to share their visions of the region's future prosperity.

As a series of crises tripped up the United States and Europe, causing a tottering recovery of the world economy and a slowdown of emerging markets, the Vladivostok summit is expected to develop a blueprint for sustainable economic growth in the region, local experts said.

UNDER A PALE GREY SKY

Four years after the the world financial meltdown, global recovery was still hobbling along. Major economies, emerging markets and developed countries alike, experienced "growing pains" by different standards at varying degrees.

Therefore, recovery and revival, growth and prosperity would remain long-term missions for the APEC economies, experts said.

The United States, the largest economy in the world, is dragged down by surging unemployment, a flagging housing market, and other structural defects.

Though the government hinted at quantitative easing steps and more stimulus measures, prospects for economic growth likely would remain gloomy as long as the chronic sickness remains uncured, experts said.

The crisis-ridden Europe, with the sovereign-debt default domino striking down Greece, Italy, and Spain and shaking up core economies such as Germany and France, is struggling to escape the recession threat.

Under the pale gray economic sky, the fast-growing Asia-Pacific region became a rare rosy part of the scenery. The locomotive of the world economy, however, could not maintain its fast speed.

That's because a number of emerging markets with export- and invest- oriented growth models gradually lost their vitality and shifted to the slow lane, says Gleb Ivashentsov, deputy director of the Russian APEC Study Center.

Maintaining long-term growth and stability became a pressing task for all economies in the region as a result, Ivashentsov said.

Besides the sharper-than-expected slowdown, the Asia-Pacific Rim, as other regions in the world, faced other challenges such as energy and food security issues, terrorism, and devastating natural disasters.

During this week's summit at Russky island in Vladivostok policymakers need to work out clear strategies and policies for the region's growth amidst fogging realities, analysts said.

REVIVAL OF THE SPRINTERS

Since its inception in 1989, APEC has helped to reduce barriers to trade and business across the region. Its 21 member economies are home to more than 2.7 billion people and represent about 53 percent of the world's real GDP and 44 percent of its trade.

As the rotating president of APEC this year, Russia initiated four priority areas for the summit. Those include facilitating regional integration, establishing reliable supply chains, strengthening food security, and cooperating to foster innovative growth.

Put aside Russia's strategic concerns on agenda-setting, those missions are shared by other APEC economies as common goals, said Vittoriya Idrisova, a Russian expert on APEC.

Russia was seeking industrial modernization and innovative growth in a bid to lose its heavy dependence on energy and raw materials.

Similarly, a number of Asian countries, including China, made innovative technologies driving forces for their economic transformation, experts said.

As expected, after the top-level gathering here, the APEC leaders will issue declarations and statements under the theme of Integrate to Grow, Innovate to Prosper.

The statements and declarations carry no binding commitment but they would guide member economies toward a path of cooperation.

One thorny issue that has beset the APEC format has been the balancing of benefits among member economies that have huge differences in development and demands, Ivashentsov said.

"For this reason, APEC needs to promote the common growth of all member economies and provide equal opportunities for all," he said.

Prior to the APEC meeting, Chinese Commerce Minister Chen Deming called for the developed economies to bear in mind members' differences when forming the list of environmental goods.

Chen's view was echoed by Gennady Ovechko, Russia's senior official for APEC, who said the list of environmental products should not serve as "a green shield of protectionism" by developed countries.

As was stressed in the group's principles, APEC leaders should reinforce cooperation on the basis of voluntarism, reach consensus via negotiations, seek common ground while reserving differences in the long run, officials said.

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