Posted November. 24, 2008 03:10,
The leaders of 21 APEC member economies yesterday agreed to strengthen international cooperation and avoid protectionism for at least one year to fight the global financial turmoil.
In a joint statement, the leaders also pledged to produce a breakthrough in stalled negotiations over the Doha Development Agenda before the end of the year.
The 16th APEC Economic Leaders` Meeting was held in Lima, Peru, over the weekend.
President Lee Myung-bak was the first leader to warn against raising trade barriers at the Group of 20 summit in Washington Nov. 15. His anti-protectionist view, dubbed the "stand-still declaration," has emerged as a major agenda in both the G20 joint statement and the APEC declaration.
In the declaration, the 21 APEC leaders stressed free trade and their willingness to avoid protectionism, warning that safeguards will only worsen the economic downturn.
They also said the Doha Development Agenda negotiations, which broke off in July, should be concluded next month. U.S. President George W. Bush said one of the enduring lessons of the Great Depression is that global protectionism is a path to global economic ruin.
In the APEC summit, President Lee also urged world leaders to closely cooperate and work out unprecedented measures to overcome the financial crisis.
"Unless we actively respond to the contraction of the real economy, the financial crisis may be prolonged for a considerable time," he said. "We must make every effort to help advanced economies go from negative to positive growth next year."