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APEC Meeting Ends with Declaration

Leaders from APEC member economies on Sunday vowed to boost regional economic integration and food security, and to combat climate change and corruption, in a declaration issued after a two-day meeting in the Peruvian capital.

The theme for this year's meeting, "A New Commitment to Asia-Pacific Development," highlighted the importance of reducing the gap between developed and developing member economies, said the document, adopted at the 16th Economic Leaders' Meeting of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC). "We are committed to strengthening the social dimension of globalization and ensuring that all members and all sectors of our economies can access the skills and opportunities to participate in, and benefit from, regional and global trade and investment," it said.

Financial crisis

In the declaration, the leaders said the current global financial crisis "is one of the most serious economic challenges we have ever face." "We will act quickly and decisively to address the impending global economic slowdown ... and will take necessary economic and financial measures to resolve this crisis," they said.

In a special statement on Saturday, the leaders said they discussed the impact of the financial crisis and the actions APEC members were taking, individually and collectively, to restore confidence in their economies and maintain the region on a path of long-term growth.

"We have already taken urgent and extraordinary steps to stabilize our financial sectors and strengthen economic growth and promote investment and consumption," the statement said. "We will continue to take such steps, and work closely, in a coordinated and comprehensive manner, to implement future actions to address this crisis," it said.

Regional economic integration

On regional economic integration, the leaders said in the declaration that their goal of free and open trade and investment in the Asia-Pacific region would be achieved through a series of unilateral reform measures combined with bilateral, regional and multinational liberalization.

The leaders welcomed progress made by member economies towards the Bogor Goals of free and open trade and investment in the region. "We reinforced our commitment to achieving the Bogor Goals to promote growth, development and a rapid recovery from the current global slowdown," they said.

On the Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific (FTAAP), the leaders commended the progress made in examining the prospects and options of a possible FTAAP as a long-term prospect. "We noted advice from ministers that while an FTAAP would likely be of economic benefit to the region as a whole, there would also be challenges in its creation," they said.

The leaders instructed ministers and officials to conduct further analytical work on the likely economic impact of an FTAAP and discuss the possible capacity building requirements for any possible further negotiations.

They also instructed officials to undertake initiatives designed to promote greater convergence among economies in key areas of APEC's trade and investment agenda, including areas such as customs administration, trade facilitation and cross-border services.

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