Asia-PacificWorld News

APEC seeks free trade in Asia-Pacific

Leaders of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) group have met in Japan to focus on free trade in the Asia Pacific region following an uncertain G20 summit.

The participants at the annual APEC summit, which kicked off on Saturday, are expected to concentrate on a collective growth strategy which could ultimately link economies from China to Chile and the United States.

APEC member states have also promised to create a free trade area of the Asia-Pacific.

The 21-member bloc accounts for more than half the world’s economic output.

However, the meeting comes on the heels of a G-20 summit in the South Korean capital of Seoul, which highlighted disagreements among members over trade imbalances.

Relations between the US and China have been strained by Washington’s assertions that the Chinese currency is undervalued, and China’s criticism of the US government’s cash-injection spree.

Speaking at a gathering of regional business leaders in Japan on Saturday, Chinese President Hu Jintao said, “China will continue to promote international balance of income as the main task to stabilize the macro-economy, utilize the two kinds of resources in the international and domestic markets.”

“China will continue going forward with reform of its exchange rate formation mechanism on the basis of retaining initiative, controllability and gradualness,” he added.

The APEC goal to start work on a vast regional free trade area also prompted protests over the impact on such a move on the livelihoods of Japanese farmers.

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