LIMA – Leaders of the Pacific Rim countries, including Malaysia, are united in their call in urging the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) to stay true to its aims and core values, in opposing growing anti-free trade and anti-globalisation tendencies.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said the leaders, gathered here for the APEC Economic Leaders Meeting, agreed to strengthen the organisation’s core formation values, namely fighting for openness, cooperation and liberalisation.
He said the APEC meeting took into consideration the conditions in many countries, particularly in developed nations, where the voices calling for opposition to free trade was getting louder.
“APEC is of the view that it needs to battle these elements and not just simply yield to those forces of anti-globalisation or anti-free trade,” he told Malaysia journalists after the APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting which ended here on last Sunday.
Najib said free trade was an important principle that can generate wealth and lead to an increase in jobs to benefit the people.
“This message is important for APEC to absorb not just in respect of its policies, but that it is ultimately an effort to bring about benefits for the people,” he added.
Formed in 1989, APEC, is an economic, trade and investment forum embracing 21 Pacific Rim countries. They are Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Peru, the Philippines, Russia, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, the United States and Vietnam.
Najib said apart from sending a clear message on the core value stance of APEC, the domestic policies of member countries also needs to be adjusted, so that no one is left impacted or marginalised as a result of the globalisation process.
“Through domestic policies so adjusted, affected parties have an opportunity to undertake ‘upskilling’ and receive micro-credit facilities for the development of small medium enterprises,” he added.
Najib said in a situation of slowing economic growth and global trade, there is a need to identify those areas which can assist in boosting economic growth such as the digital economy and connectivity ( such as the Mass Rapid Transit, High Speed Railway, East Coast Rail and Pan Borneo Highway).