Indonesia’s President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono opened the 2013 APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting in Bali on Monday by explaining that APEC region is in a position to strengthen the global recovery despite continued unevenness in growth between economies.

“We convene the APEC Leaders’ meeting at a very critical juncture,” said Yudhoyono who pointed to signs of an improvement in growth in many developed economies while emerging markets struggle to address an economic slowdown.

“Such a situation should be carefully managed, otherwise it could weaken the momentum for recovery,” Yudhoyono cautioned. This is especially the case in emerging economies, including Indonesia, he added.

APEC’s 21 member economies account for 54 percent of global gross domestic product. “According to the IMF, as a group, APEC is expected to grow by 6.3 percent in 2013 and by 6.6 percent in 2014,” Yudhoyono said. 

“In spite of the uneven pace of recovery, in the APEC region, the APEC economies continue to be the driving force for global growth,” he noted. “We should re-double our efforts to sustain our resilience and maintain our role as the pillar and the safety belt of global growth.”

APEC economies are guided by the shared commitment to achieving the Bogor Goals for free and open trade and investment in the APEC region by 2020. This includes working together to further lower tariffs in the region, which have declined by nearly 70 percent since 1989, and greater collaboration to lower the cost of doing business across borders.

“As we strive for the Bogor Goals, we also need to ensure an open, rules-based, transparent and non-discriminatory multilateral trading system,” Yudohoyono continued. “This multilateral trading could serve as an essential source of sustainable economic growth, development and stability.”

“We continue to see differing levels of economic development in our region,” he explained. “We believe that every APEC economy should gain from the APEC process.”

Improving economic and technical cooperation to build the capacity of the region to strengthen trade and investment, and deliver greater sustainability with equity is integral to realizing this objective.

“We have even greater opportunities for achieving more productive and larger trade and investment,” Yudhoyono concluded. “To seize these opportunities, our region needs to be more interconnected and interlinked.”

On Tuesday, Leaders will meet again and focus on connectivity in the evolving regional and international architecture.

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