Success, failures in APEC meet

By Lynda Jumilla, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 14 2010 01:44 PM | Updated as of Nov 14 2010 09:44 PM

APEC members admit failure in not meeting Bogor goals

YOKOHAMA, Japan -- Leaders of 21 economies in the Asia-Pacific region, including President Benigno Aquino III, committed to work together to combat terrorism, corruption and manipulation of currencies, at the close of the two-day 18th Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Leaders' Meeting here Sunday.

However, they acknowledged APEC's failure to meet its free tree goals set forth in the so-called Bogor goals. At the 1994 APEC leaders' meeting in Bogor, Indonesia, APEC said its developed member-economies shall have brought down trade barriers by 2010, and developing member-economies by 2020.

"(We) call upon all member-economies to continue to work to improve our collective ability to provide for this security by taking steps to minimize, prepare against, and respond to serious threats that derailed the region's economy," said the APEC Leaders' Declaration read by host leader Prime Minister Naoto Kan of Japan.

Although APEC is an economic grouping, terrorism and other security issues were also underlying concerns among leaders. In his talks with other leaders, President Aquino has emphasized the adverse effects of terror threats -- even unverified ones -- on the economy especially on tourism.

APEC leaders also pushed for transparency in their respective domestic policies and procedures to make it cheaper, faster and easier to do business in the Asia-Pacific region. The 5 priority areas are: starting a business, getting credit, trading across borders, enforcing contracts, and dealing with permits.

"We will continue our efforts to fight corruption and promote transparency, and call for improved and regular reporting by APEC on its efforts to meet our commitments in this area," the leaders said.

Meanwhile, the leaders committed to "refrain from competitive devaluation of currencies." It was seen as a reference to China's alleged moves to undervalue the yuan by buying US dollars.

"We will move toward market-determined exchange rate systems... and will refrain from competitive devaluation of currencies," the leaders said. "Advanced economies, including those with reserve currencies will be vigilant against excess volatility and disorderly movements in exchange rates."

On the second day of the summit, APEC leaders assessed the progress of 5 industrialized economies (US, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, and Canada) and 8 volunteer developing economies (Chile, Hong Kong, China, South Korea, Malaysia, Mexico, Peru Singapore, and Taiwan) in meeting the Bogor goals.

"(We) conclude that while more work remains to be done, these 13 economies have made significant progress toward achieving the Bogor goals, " the leaders said.

Security has been tight and movement restricted as Asia-Pacific leaders descended on this Japanese port city for the APEC Leaders’ Meeting.