09/10/2012, 00.00
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APEC’s good intentions: Building bridges, not walls between economies in crisis

Fears of influence of the crisis in Europe and the U.S.. But the International Monetary Fund is prepared to help the European Central Bank. Call to avoid protectionism, while all countries defend themselves with taxes and monopolies. China invests in infrastructure, Russia and Japan, draw up design for liquid gas plants.

Vladivostok (AsiaNews / Agencies) - The two-day meeting between the leaders of the 21 countries of the two shores of the Pacific, ended yesterday with many good intentions for the immediate future, promising to "build bridges, not walls" between the economies in crisis.

New Zealand Prime Minister John Key, said: "There is a feeling that the world economy is fragile ... but there is the confidence that we can do it."

The APEC meeting took place in Russia, on a small island off the coast of Vladivostok. All countries expressed concern about the European crisis that is affecting their economies, as well as the difficulties of the U.S. crisis, marked by almost zero growth. For this reason APEC has decided to further liberalize trade between group members, but beyond promises there seems to be no concrete decisions: the U.S. is raising taxes on many exports, China's economy is full of monopolies; there are signs of protectionism everywhere. A further sign of fragility of these good intentions is the ongoing tensions over the disputed sovereignty of regional islands contested by Japan, South Korea, China, Vietnam, Brunei, Malaysia, etc. .. motivated by the desire to secure access to raw materials (possible underwater deposits), rich fisheries and the control of trade routes.

Despite the concerns, APEC praised the efforts of Europe to cope with the crisis, especially after the European Central Bank decided on the unlimited purchase of bonds. Christine Lagarde, head of the International Monetary Fund, said she was interested in playing a role in the operation.

A further boost was given to the economy of the region by Chinese President Hu Jintao's promise to invest 157 billion U.S. dollars in infrastructure, agriculture, energy, railways and roads. Russia has signed an agreement with Japan to the tune of 7 billion U.S. dollars for the construction of a plant for liquid gas near the islands of Japan. Everyone agrees that there should be no protectionism especially in the export of food, after reports on scare crops, caused by drought and bad weather. But no one has discussed prices, which has in the past led to speculation on hunger of the people.

Among other agreements, tax cuts - by 2015 - 54 on the export of goods and environmental projects such as renewable energy plants, waste treatment, environmental control.

The next annual meeting will take place on the island of Bali (Indonesia). APEC collects about 40% of the world population, 54% of the economy of the planet and 44% of the global market.


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