Americas and Asia business leaders urge fiscal response

Fri Nov 21, 2008 1:16pm EST
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By Teresa Cespedes and Terry Wade

LIMA (Reuters) - Business executives from Asia and the Americas called on Friday for economic stimulus packages to offset the global financial crisis.

Backing promises by leaders of the world's biggest economies to try to stave off recession by boosting demand, the executives also urged governments to resist protectionism and excessive regulation as a response to the economic woes.

"The required actions should include fiscal responses to strengthen demand through appropriate spending on public works and tax incentives," Juan Francisco Raffo, president of the ABAC business council, said in Peru ahead of a 21-nation summit meeting here this weekend.

President George W. Bush, Chinese President Hu Jintao and the leaders of Japan, Canada, Mexico and Russia were among those expected to use the meeting of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation, or APEC, to push for free trade deals and stimulus packages to counter recessions that have already hit parts of the world.

"We call on the leaders of APEC members to take advantage of this opportunity to respond to the global economic crisis taking measures that put them on the road to recovery," said Raffo, whose group advises the APEC leaders.

The APEC trade group accounts for more than 40 percent of the world's people and more than half of global output.

Nine of its members are also in the G20 group of leading economies that last week agreed to take coordinated fiscal stimulus measures.

Bush was traveling on Friday to the APEC summit in Peru, his last scheduled trip abroad as U.S. president, to seek support for global financial reform.   Continued...

<p>South Korea's President Lee Myung-bak (C) and his wife Kim Yoon-ok arrive at the airport in Lima November 20, 2008. Myung-bak was in Peru to attend the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit. REUTERS/Enrique Castro Mendivil</p>