APEC trade ministers vow to fight protectionism

22 July 2009 11:27  [Source: ICIS news]

SINGAPORE (ICIS news)--Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) trade leaders vowed on Wednesday to avoid protectionist policies, reiterating their commitment to free trade and investment flows amid the global recession.

“We reject all forms of protectionism and commit to take the necessary steps to keep our markets open for trade and investment and sustain economic recovery,” said APEC chair and Singapore trade and industry minister Lim Hng Kiang in a statement.

APEC leaders agreed in November last year to refrain from raising new barriers to investments and to trade in goods and services.

Imposing new export restrictions and implementing policies that are inconsistent with World Trade Organisation commitments would be also be out of the question.

Lim said the APEC trade ministers that met in Singapore for a two-day conference agreed to uphold these commitments until 2010 “and beyond if necessary”.

Half of APEC’s 21 member economies would shrink this year, based on projections from the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

“Although there have been some recent signs of the global economy stabilising, the situation remains uncertain, and significant risks to economic and financial stability persist,” said Lim.

“We remain committed to working together to overcome the current economic crisis and to prepare for recovery in a manner that is consistent with APEC’s vision of free and open trade and investment,” Lim added.

APEC is an inter-governmental grouping that was established in 1989 to enhance economic growth and prosperity in the Asia-Pacific region.

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By: Pearl Bantillo
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