World Economy

APEC Urges Broader Regional Integration

APEC Urges Broader  Regional IntegrationAPEC Urges Broader  Regional Integration

A Joint Ministerial Statement detailing new actions for deepening Asia-Pacific partnership to navigate the changing regional and global landscape and boost economic recovery was issued by APEC Ministers following the conclusion of the 26th APEC Ministerial Meeting on Saturday in Beijing.

Initiatives contained in the Joint Statement prioritize the unlocking of new sources of growth based on the establishment of conditions that foster greater regional economic integration, promote innovative development, economic reform and growth, and strengthen infrastructure investment and comprehensive connectivity, APEC press release says.

The Joint Statement further outlines next steps for addressing the significant challenges now confronting the multilateral trading system under the World Trade Organization, taking into account a frank assessment of the future its negotiating function provided to Ministers by Director-General Roberto Azevedo on Saturday.

 Share Info on Corruption

The member states have agreed to set up a network to share information on corruption.

Apec members said that the purpose of the agreement, proposed by China, was to deny safe haven to anyone engaged in corruption.

It comes amid efforts by Chinese President Xi Jinping to clamp down on corrupt officials, including those who try to escape abroad.

US Secretary of State John Kerry hailed the move as a “major step forward”.

“Corruption not only creates an unfair playing field, it not only distorts economic relationships, but corruption also steals from the people of every country the belief that the system can work for everybody,” he told journalists.

 Extradition Concerns

The APEC group statement said it had set up the Network of Anti-Corruption Authorities and Law Enforcement Agencies (ACT-NET).

The network commits its 21 member states to “deny safe haven to those engaged in corruption, including through extradition, mutual legal assistance and the recovery and return of proceeds of corruption”.

It will also “establish measures and systems to protect whistleblowers”.

 A Big Step

APEC Ministerial Meeting Co-Chair, China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi, said: “Our first ministerial meeting 25 years ago today was a small step taken by APEC but it was a big step for Asia-Pacific cooperation as it started a great journey of Asia-Pacific economies working together to pursue development, progress and prosperity,” said Wang. “Today, more than ever, the world needs a harmonious, progressing and prosperous Asia-Pacific.”

“Our mission is both to promote our own development and lead global growth, and we face both unprecedented opportunities and challenges,” Wang explained. “APEC must fulfill the mission of our times and demonstrate strategic vision.”

APEC accounts for about 40 percent of the world’s population, half of global trade and 60 percent of total gross domestic product. But the region is facing a period of considerable transition whose outcome will be determined by the capacity of member economies to expand their practical cooperation and exercise increased global leadership to mitigate high risk levels, the ministers agreed.

The meeting will be followed by the 2014 APEC CEO Summit on November 9-10 and the 2014 APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting on November 10-11.

China’s President Xi Jinping and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin share similar views on issues from human rights, that mirrors their countries’ converging interests.

Putin arrives in Beijing Sunday for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit and his 10th meeting with Xi since the Chinese president took office in March last year, AFP reported.

Their growing rapport comes as their nations’ trade, investment and geopolitical interests align.