Leaders of 21 member countries of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) said it strongly condemned all acts of terrorism and stressed that there is urgent need to increase international cooperation to fight it.
“Under the shadow cast by the terrorist attacks in Paris, Beirut, and against Russian aircraft over the Sinai, and elsewhere, we strongly condemn all acts, methods and practices of terrorism in all their forms and manifestations.
“We stress the urgent need for increased international cooperation and solidarity in the fight against terrorism,” it said in a declaration released at the end of two-day Leaders’ Summit which saw heightened security in the Philippines’s capital after the terror attacks in Paris which killed 129 people.
Philippine President Benigno S.Aquino III chaired the summit themed, “Building Inclusive Economies, Building a Better World.
APEC also said it will not allow terrorism to threaten the fundamental values that underpin the region’s free and open economies.
“Economic growth, prosperity and opportunity are among the most powerful tools to address the root causes of terrorism and radicalisation,” it said.
Among others, APEC Leaders said they remain united and steadfast in supporting an open, predictable, rules-based and transparent environment for trade and investment that enables meaningful access to economic opportunities.
“This provides the best means to deliver sustained and inclusive growth, quality job creation and financial market stability.
“We reaffirm the commitment to jointly build an open economy in the Asia-Pacific that is based on innovative development, interconnected growth and shared interests,” it said.
They reaffirmed the value, centrality and primacy of the multilateral trading system under the auspices of the World Trade Organisation and committed to strengthening the rules-based, transparent, non-discriminatory, open, and inclusive multilateral trading system.
The leaders also reaffirmed their previous commitments on monetary and exchange rate policies.
“We will refrain from competitive devaluation and resist all forms of protectionism,” they said in the declaration.
APEC also reiterated its commitment to achieve the Bogor Goals of free and open trade and investment by 2020 and to the eventual realisation of the Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific.
Recognising that the development of services including their efficient delivery required a strategic approach, the APEC Leaders also adopted the APEC Services Cooperation Framework (ASCF).
Among others, they agreed to develop a strategic and long-term APEC Services Competitiveness Roadmap in 2016 with the adoption of a concerted set of actions and mutually agreed targets to be achieved by 2025.
“The process of drafting the roadmap will begin with discussion of the elements of the roadmap followed by deliberations on actions and mutually agreed targets,” it added.
The roadmap will include broaden multi-stakeholder engagement through the APEC Virtual Knowledge Center on Services – a virtual knowledge-sharing platform on information and best practices of services-related policies and programs of APEC.
The desired outcomes of the ASCF are increased services value-adding capacity of APEC economies, cultivation of globally competitive services sectors of APEC economies and expansion of trade and investment in services in APEC economies via improvements in physical, institutional and people-to-people connectivity.
APEC’s 21-member economies are Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, China, Hong Kong-China, Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Peru, the Philippines, Russia, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, the United States and Vietnam.
In 2014, APEC economies accounted for 40 per cent of the world population, 57 per cent of world Gross Domestic Product (USD 44.1 billion), 48.5 per cent of global trade (USD 18.5 billion) and 53.1 per cent of global foreign direct investments (FDIs) inflow (USD 652 billion). (BERNAMA)