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APEC expected to maintain stimulus until recovery

APEC expected to maintain stimulus until recovery

Singapore: APEC countries including the United States, Japan and China are expected to pledge this week to keep up their stimulus policies and push for a global trade deal in 2010 to spur a lasting economic recovery.

Leaders from the grouping will also try to provide some momentum for global talks on climate change next month in Copenhagen.

Here are some questions and answers about the APEC meetings in Singapore, which culminate in a leaders summit on 14-15 November.

What is APEC and who is coming?

The Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation forum brings together leaders from 21 of the world’s largest economies to work toward improving trade and world growth.

APEC includes wealthy countries such as the US, Australia and Japan and some of the fastest growing emerging economies, including China, Malaysia, Vietnam, Thailand and Indonesia. The other APEC members are Brunei, Canada, Chile, Hong Kong, Mexico, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Peru, the Philippines, Russia, Singapore, South Korea and Taiwan.

Finance, trade and foreign ministers meet during the week and the leaders hold a two-day summit at the weekend. Among the leaders coming are: US President Barack Obama, China’s President Hu Jintao, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, Mexico’s President Felipe Calderon, Japan’s Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama and Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.

What is the main aim of APEC?

APEC’s member economies account for 54% of global gross domestic product, 44% of world trade and 40% of the world’s population. It is aiming to create a free trade and investment area by 2020 to promote growth, create jobs, reduce business costs and build an Asia-Pacific community.

What will the meeting say about the global economy?

The leaders will pledge to maintain economic stimulus policies until a durable recovery is secured, according to a draft communique obtained by Reuters. The US has enacted a $787 billion stimulus plan and packages in Asia total more than $1 trillion, according to a study by Standard & Poors.

APEC leaders will come up with a new ‘growth paradigm’ for the changed post-crisis landscape, and an expanded trade agenda for enhanced regional economic integration (REI) to avoid the past growth as usual model, according to their draft communique.

What will the meeting say about global trade?

APEC will push efforts to reach a new agreement to cut tariffs and subsidies in the Doha Round of the World Trade Organisation. The talks aimed at reaching a global accord have been stalled for eight years and APEC is expected to warn that rising protectionism may deepen the world’s economic slump.

They will pledge utmost restraint in implementing measures that have protectionist effects, even those considered to be WTO consistent, their draft communique says.

APEC leaders will say they are concerned the high level political commitment to conclude the Doha Round has yet to be translated into substantive progress in the negotiations.

What will it say about climate change?

APEC is not a climate body, and has no power to negotiate, making all of its decisions by consensus. But it could try to reach a common position on carbon emissions ahead of next month’s UN sponsored talks in Copenhagen. The meeting in the Danish capital will try to hammer out a new treaty to tackle global warming, but preparatory talks have become deadlocked.

APEC leaders believe global emissions will need to peak over the next few years, and be reduced to 50% below 1990 levels by 2050, according to the draft by leaders of some of the world’s top polluting nations.

The leaders say they will achieve their APEC-wide target of reducing energy intensity by at least 25% by 2030 and increasing forest cover through the region by at least 20 million hectares of all types of forests by 2020. APEC has also promised to spur trade in green products or technologies.

What are CEOs doing at the meeting?

An APEC CEO Summit on Friday and Saturday will involve 1,500 participants in what is being billed as the premier business event in the Asia-Pacific region. The chief executive officers are expected to discuss issues around the global economic recovery, whether the crisis is over for corporate earnings, the decline of the dollar, worries about a double-dip recession in the global economy, and the role of green technologies in the new economy.

Among the chief executive officers or chairmen coming are those from Exxon Mobil, DHL, Siemens, HSBC and China’s ICBC.

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