Liberalization of trade and investment among the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) members should be expanded and governments should refrain from using any protectionist measures. Meanwhile, the private sector plays an important role in the economic expansion of the Asia-Pacific and governments should create a conducive investment climate for this sector. This was the main message conveyed in the speech of John Kerry, US minister of foreign affairs who replaced Barack Obama at the APEC Leader Summit.
President Obama had to cancel the trip to Bali due to the US debt ceiling issue. Kerry said that many CEOs complain about the high level of corruption within the APEC member countries, weak service and a general unconducive investment climate (which includes protectionist measures).
Prime minister of Japan Shinzo Abe made an optimistic speech about Japan where deflation is slowing and economic growth is accelerating, and thus his economic policy packages seem to work. The government of Japan is now planning to increase taxes while providing incentives for corporations in return. The country's inflation target in 2013 is three percent.
Indonesia's Trade minister Gita Wirjawan said that a new trade package, the 'Bali package', is in development. This package aims to curb trade barriers among the APEC members, particularly regarding taxes, import-export duties and customs-related regulations.
The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) is a forum, consisting of 21 countries, that seeks to promote free trade and economic cooperation in the Asia-Pacific region. In 1994, APEC leaders adopted the Bogor Goals that aim for free and open trade and investment in the Asia-Pacific by 2010 for industrialized economies and by 2020 for developing economies.
In 2012, APEC countries accounted for 57 percent of the world's total gross domestic product (GDP) growth, with the top three - USA, China and Japan - being the dominating forces of the world economy. The total population in the APEC area amounts to 2.5 billion people and thus forms an important consumer force.
The APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting was opened on Monday (07/10) in Bali at a time when developed countries are showing early signs of recovery, while emerging markets are confronted with slowing economic growth.