Ministers address global crisis, cost of food; emphasize need for social responsibility

Report
from Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation
Published on 20 Nov 2008
Lima, Peru, 20 November 2008 - Amid what are widely considered the most difficult economic circumstances since the creation of APEC in 1989, Ministers of Trade and Foreign Affairs from across 21 APEC economies gathered to make recommendations to Leaders this week (19 - 20 November).

"Our commitment," said the group in a Statement today, "is to strengthen regional cooperation through APEC to address the challenging financial and economic outlook, continue to promote trade and investment liberalization and facilitation, support structural economic reforms, improve human security, and ensure that all members of our economies have the training and opportunities to benefit from globalization."

In response to the global financial crisis, APEC economies have stated their intent to oppose protectionism. They have also recommended that Leaders agree not to raise current levels of applied import tariffs during the crisis.

In response to the high cost of food, Ministers agreed to review and update the APEC Food System to be considered by Ministers Responsible for Trade in 2009. In addition, they recognized that export restrictions may prolong and deepen the severity of food price escalation by putting further pressure on global food prices and discouraging agricultural investment needed to increase future production."

Ministers reiterated their belief that a resolution of the Doha Round of WTO negotiations is even more urgent as a result of the global financial crisis. A strong agreement would demonstrate the ability of the international community to work together to strengthen the global economy.

Progress toward regional economic integration was reported, outlining the degree of implementation achieved in 53 specific action areas.

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) has been a main theme at APEC this year. According to Ministers, both private and public organizations have a responsibility to protect and promote the well-being of all those who may be affected by business operations. It was specifically recommended that Leaders promote CSR in the region.

Recommendations will be considered by Leaders for adoption (22 - 23 November).

To access the Statement in full, go to: http://www.apec.org/redirect/2008_amm.html

For more information, contact:

Carolyn Williams at cdw@apec.org or (+511) 989 27 4393

Anita Douglas at ad@apec.org or (+511) 989 27 4391