NEW YORK, December 4, 2008 - In the face of global economic collapse, the leading Asia-Pacific business and trade organization came out squarely in favor of free trade and increased investment. Such was the consensus arrived at by 21 leaders who convened at the 2008 APEC Summit, hosted in Lima from November 20 through 23 by Peru's President Alan Garcia.
In a panel discussion at the Asia Society, the American Senior Official for APEC, Ambassador Patricia M. Haslach; Assistant United States Trade Representative Wendy Cutler; and Mitchell Lee, Singapore's Consul in New York, reviewed the issues and outcomes that dominated APEC's 2008 Summit agenda. Monica Whaley, executive director of the National Center of APEC (Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation), moderated the conversation.
With the current economic turmoil on everyone's mind, Haslach recounted how participants in the 2008 APEC Summit resolved upon promoting greater regional economic integration and sustainable development as part of a unified response to the current worldwide financial crisis. Haslach then outlined some of the concrete steps APEC vowed to take in order to combat the crisis, such as tackling the volatile food prices and food security issues that have recently bedeviled the Asia-Pacific region.
Panelist Lee later offered some early hints of the goals Singapore will bring to APEC in 2009, when it hosts the Summit.
Excerpt: Patricia Haslach: APEC's leadership rejects protectionism and new trade barriers as a response to the financial crisis (1 min., 25 sec.)
Listen to the complete program (1 hr., 16 min.)