APEC CEOs to world leaders: boost trade and growth

Fri Nov 11, 2011 10:42am EST
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By Michael Martina and Emily Kaiser

HONOLULU (Reuters) - Asia-Pacific CEOs will press world leaders on Friday to boost growth and seal a regional trade deal, goals made more urgent by the European debt crisis that has darkened global economic growth prospects.

Business leaders advising the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit said a "volatile and uncertain economic environment" was discouraging private-sector investment and could spawn protectionist sentiment.

In a letter to U.S. President Barack Obama, who arrives for the Honolulu talks late on Friday, CEOs called on governments "to liaise closely with business as we work together to stimulate economic growth and create jobs in the short term, and work toward balanced growth in the long term."

With Europe in danger of slipping into a recession and U.S. growth sluggish, Asia represents the best bet for keeping the world economy on track.

Senior officials drafting an APEC communique reached consensus on the need for all member economies to bolster themselves against the potential spillover from Europe.

But there was no sign the summit of countries that account for more than half of global economic output would offer any concrete measures to help the euro-zone cope with its crisis.

APEC leaders, who meet on the weekend, were also expected to keep the heat on China over what many see as an artificially undervalued yuan that hurts competitors like the United States.

The issue has been a major irritant between Washington and Beijing, which has become increasingly assertive in a region where Obama now wants to refocus U.S. attention.   Continued...