APEC warns of fragile recovery, sees unemployment as challenge


Singapore : Ministers of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum Thursday said the recovery of the global economy was still shaky and expected to be uneven while warning of still-high unemployment rates in some nations.

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“The global economic situation has eased considerably,” the APEC trade and foreign ministers said in a joint statement after a meeting at the annual APEC summit in Singapore.

“But the recovery remains fragile; the growth profile over the next few quarters is likely to be uneven,” they warned, adding that “unemployment remains unacceptably high in many of our economies”.

However, the ministers said their confidence in the medium and long-term growth prospects for the Asia-Pacific region remained unwavering.

APEC continued to promote free and open trade, the ministers said, noting that they were pleased “that the APEC region as a whole has remained relatively open to trade throughout the global crisis”.

“We remain concerned over the threat of protectionism to our economic recovery,” said the ministers, adding that APEC economies were committed “to keep our markets open and resist all forms of protectionism”.

“We recognise the need to calibrate overall policy settings, including temporary support measures, to the pace of recovery and in 2010,” the statement said.

APEC would seek to ensure that economic growth was consistent with sustainable development, the ministers said, noting that “climate change is one of the biggest challenges facing the world”.

APEC consists of the 21 Pacific Rim economies and represents about 54 percent of the global gross domestic product and 44 percent of world trade.

The forum consists of Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, China, Indonesia, Hong Kong, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, Peru, Russia, the US and Vietnam.

The one-week APEC summit in Singapore is set to culminate when the heads of its member economies, including US President Barack Obama, meet over the weekend.