APEC to unleash new growth in 'two-sphere' world

Updated: 2011-11-15 10:49


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HONOLULU, United States - As the world badly needs to remove huge uncertainties triggered by the eurozone debt crisis, discussions and collaboration among Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) leaders to unleash new growth potentials remain crucial in the current "two-sphere" world.                

The interconnected globe is composed of a new world represented by the Asia-Pacific sphere with dynamic economic growth, and the Europe-centered sphere with anemic growth, Doug Oberhelman, chief executive officer of Caterpillar, the world's leading maker of construction and mining equipment, told Xinhua during the just-concluded APEC meetings.

"The new world has a completely different set of challenges than the old world," said Oberhelman, adding that this makes closer coordination, frequent meetings and deeper understanding the way to solve problems.

Zhu Min, deputy managing director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), echoed the view, saying that the global economy has shifted from a "two-speed-recovery" phase to a post-crisis "two- speed-growth" era, and this might continue for a long time.

The emerging markets will continue to play the leading role in global economic growth, but the lingering eurozone debt turmoil and waning external demand are weighing on market confidence and the growth outlook of emerging economies, Zhu said in an interview with Xinhua here on the sidelines of the APEC events.

With investors' jitters and market gyrations continuing in many developed economies, the world is looking to the 21-member APEC which accounts for more than half of global economic output to find new growth drivers for corporate executives like Oberhelman.

A recent survey report released by the Price Waterhouse Coopers (PwC) on the basis of more than 320 CEOs globally reveals that 96 percent of them have exuded confidence in their companies' growth over the next three to five years in the Asia-Pacific rim, as the rising wealth in the Asia-Pacific consumer markets is the driving force behind business investments.

Different economies of the 21-member APEC are confronted with different challenges, with the United States tackling its painfully high unemployment, China dealing with mounting inflationary pressure, and Japan shoring up its post-quake reconstruction, contended Li Wentao, an APEC expert with Nankai University in China.

However, all APEC members need to forge a stable and peaceful external environment conducive to the sustainable development of the region, while the goal can only be achieved through close collaboration among APEC members, Li added.

APEC leaders pledged here on Sunday to build a seamless regional economy through tangible efforts including facilitating regional trade, launching the APEC Travel Facilitation Initiative, promoting green growth goals and eliminating unjustifiably burdensome and outdated regulations.

IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde backed the APEC goals, saying in a statement that "we need to work together to support growth that creates jobs, is inclusive, and benefits all. APEC embodies that spirit of shared responsibility and action".

"For APEC's advanced economies, this means primarily adopting strong medium-term fiscal consolidation plans, which will create space to accommodate growth and jobs now. For APEC's emerging market and developing economies, it means addressing underlying vulnerabilities, including better social safety nets; investing in infrastructure, health and education; financial sector reform; and exchange rate appreciation where necessary," Lagarde noted.

The world needs a "unified commitment" to sustainable and inclusive growth, and the APEC leaders are demonstrating such a strong commitment, World Bank Managing Director Sri Mulyani Indrawati told Xinhua in Honolulu, adding that the commitment was pivotal to staving off mounting pessimism and declining confidence on whether the world could grow itself out of a gloomy picture.

APEC leaders can work together to chart a future pathway by building a "more efficient, less polluted and cleaner" growth model, Indrawati said.

Indrawati noted that to identify problems and challenges facing the global recovery is not difficult, but it is not an easy task to implement the solutions achieved by various economies in a bid to better protect the interests of underprivileged social groups and create badly needed jobs for the youth and others.

A series of APEC meetings, including the summit-level Economic Leaders' Meeting, the Ministerial Meeting, the Finance Ministerial Meeting, the Business Advisory Council and the CEO Summit, took place here from Nov 8 to 13.