APEC leaders call for greater regional integration to fuel growth

11 November 2014

Leaders of the 21 member countries of the Asia Pacific Economic Forum (APEC) commenced their two-day gathering in Beijing on Monday, engaging with Asia-Pacific business executives who called for accelerated regional integration to promote sustained growth and recovery in the region while adapting to new business realities.

Dr Alan BollardThe APEC summit issued a declaration outlining new far-reaching measures for advancing regional economic integration, promoting innovative development, economic reform and growth, and strengthening comprehensive connectivity and infrastructure development, with a view to expanding and deepening regional economic cooperation, and attaining peace, stability, development and common prosperity of the Asia-Pacific.

Leaders shared their views on promoting regional integration, innovative development and economic reform, and infrastructure investment and comprehensive connectivity - APEC's 2014 priorities - during the APEC CEO Summit.

Chinese President Xi Jinping is hosting the 22nd Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Economic Leaders' meeting at the Yanqi Lake International Convention Center in northern suburb of Beijing.

The meeting is being attended by 21 heads of state, including US President Barrack Obama, his Russian counterpart Vladamir Putin and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

Members of the APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC) presented their recommendations, reflecting private sector views from across the Asia-Pacific during a separate informal dialogue with the leaders. The exchange set the stage for the 22nd APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting at Yanqi Lake on Tuesday.

''The business community is an important engine of economic development in the Asia-Pacific and the world,'' said China's President Xi Jinping in earlier remarks at the APEC CEO Summit. ''As Asia-Pacific regional economic cooperation deepens and becomes more substantive, some of APEC's cooperation initiatives are already yielding positive results, bringing real benefits to the region's businesses.'' 

President Xi welcomed input based on the actual needs of the business community to build on this progress and identify a viable path for strengthening trade and investment, regional economic integration and long-term development in the region.

This year marks the 25th anniversary of APEC, which has been the top-level and most representative cooperation mechanism that covers wide range of areas in the Asia-Pacific.

Xi said the meeting is expected to make four achievements, including the launch of the Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific (FTAAP) process, issue a statement on the 25th anniversary of the APEC, promotion of innovation, reforms and growth to seek new momentum for long-term development of the Asia-Pacific and a blueprint to lay a solid foundation for all-round connectivity in the Asia-Pacific.

Xi also said China will donate $10 million for institutional development and capacity building of APEC.

The 22nd summit of APEC is being held at Yanqi Lake, about 50 km north east of Beijing, where China has built a special conference centre, a waterfront boutique hotel and 12 VIP villas on an islet, besides the newly opened Sunrise Kempinski hotel nearby.

This is the largest event being hosted by China after the 2008 Olympics.

APEC's 21 member economies include Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, People's Republic of China, Hong Kong, China, Indonesia, Japan, Republic of Korea, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Peru, Philippines, Russian Federation, Singapore, Chinese Taipei, Thailand, United States and Vietnam.

While not much is expected out of the summit due to the strategic rivalry between US, its allies and China, it has already achieved certain political breakthrough especially in ending a two-year long China-Japan spat over the disputed islands in the East China Sea.

It is to be seen whether APEC, which specialised in trade and commerce, would consider admitting new members as a ban in this regard had been lifted in 2010.

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