Pow-wow with a bit of wow

Margaret Abbott of Australia, wife of Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott, dances with Indonesian dancers in front of other APEC Summit leaders' spouses during their visit to the Bali Safari and Marine Park.

WHAT: The 21st Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) meetings

WHERE: Bali, Indonesia

WHEN: Monday and and Tuesday

WHO: Apec has 21 members - referred to as "member economies" - which account for about 40 per cent of the world's population, roughly 55 per cent of world gross domestic product and about 44 per cent of world trade.

 

Five key issues:

1. TPP FREE TRADE AREA

Twelve Apec members are engaged in negotiations for a free trade area called the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).

They are Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the United States and Vietnam.

These countries are haggling over their plans for a free trade area which they hope will eventually encompass the entire region. China is not party to the TPP and is instead pushing ahead with a rival trade pact comprising 16 countries in the region.

 

2. SLOW RECOVERY OF THE WORLD ECONOMY

Chinese President Xi Jinping said on Monday that he expected a "long and tortuous process" of world economic recovery, while China's economic growth rate of about 7 per cent was "within a reasonable and expected range".

Speaking on the sidelines of the Apec forum summit, Mr Xi said the world economy was in the middle of profound adjustment and with major economies far from resolving their structural problems, it was imperative to strengthen macro-economic cooperation.

3. DISMANTLE BARRIERS TO TRADE

Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono urged Asian business and political leaders to do more to counter the economic headwinds confronting developing countries by dismantling barriers to trade and investment.

He told a regional summit that as advanced economies are gaining speed, emerging economies are slowing, dogged in some cases by trade deficits, capital flight and weakening currencies.

"The advanced economies are experiencing recovery and showing faster growth, while emerging economies ... are facing a slowdown," Dr Yudhoyono said.

"Apec is in the ideal position to help the recovery of the global economy," he added, emphasising the importance of preventing protectionism and opening markets to maximise prosperity.

 

4. SHIFT OF CHINA'S GROWTH MODEL

China has long acknowledged that it needs to shift away from a growth model reliant on investment in construction and heavily polluting industries that have fouled its water and choked its skies with smog.

The aim is to foster more consumeroriented, high-tech development.

"We are focusing more on improving the quality and efficiency of growth," said Mr Xi, likening the process to finding one's way to a new village.

He said: "China must undergo structural reforms, even if it involves a sacrifice of speed. Draining a pond to catch fish is no formula for sustainable development."

5. REGIONAL SECURITY

Japanese officials attending the Apec meetings have alluded to frustrations with Chinese incursions into waters near islands in the East China Sea claimed by Beijing and Tokyo.

Mr Xi did not mention such issues, but underscored China's intention to foster stability in the region.

"The Asia-Pacific is a big family," he said.

"A family of harmony prospers. China is ready to live in amity with others."


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