CEOs given challenging goals at APEC

Updated: 2013-10-06 17:08


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BALI -- Indonesia's president presented a challenging to-do list for Asia Pacific Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) on Sunday, insisting that APEC growth was essential to maintain global development momentum.

Addressing the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) CEO summit, Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono made clear the steps that need to be taken for members to achieve growth for themselves and the rest of the world.

Yudhoyono said that stronger cooperation between companies in the APEC region could be a way to cushion or avoid a downturn, as now the development patterns are mixed around the world, where some developed countries are returning to growth but some leading developing countries are facing a slow-down.

He called on APEC members to prevent protectionist policies, and continue on the path of trade liberalization in ways that improve the well-being of citizens.

"APEC economies remain a crucial source of global growth. According to the IMF, as a group, APEC is expected to grow by 6.3 percent in 2013 and by 6.6 percent in 2014 which is more than twice the world average," he told the gathering.

At present, APEC economies account for 54 percent of global gross domestic product and 44 percent of global trade. Within the region, moreover, trade has grown nearly seven-fold since 1989, reaching over $11 trillion in 2011.

"In the past 25 years, average tariffs in APEC have declined by close to 70 percent. The cost of conducting business across borders decreased by two successive rounds of 5 percent tariff reductions: resulting in nearly $59 billion of savings for businesses," he added.

"All this shows that with its combined potential, APEC is in the ideal position to help the recovery of the global economy. Therefore, APEC members--through individual and collective measures--must put extra efforts to promote growth."

Stimulating investment, improving infrastructure, tackling supply chain issues, creating jobs, equitable growth and financial stability were also included in his list of goals that CEOs need to work on.

The Indonesian President also made a strong case for sustainable development, pointing out that by 2045 there will be 9 billion people worldwide, with much of this population in the Asia Pacific region, placing a great burden on the supply of energy, food and water.

"Our efforts should focus on economic empowerment, engagement of stake-holders, enhancement of SMEs' global competitiveness through innovation and tapping women's productivity in the economy. "

He also noted that it is critical to ensure financial inclusion, strengthen food security and improve access to health services.