Asia Pacific trade ministers concluded their two-day meeting in Singapore with a renewed commitment to resist protectionism.
The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) economies, which represent almost half of world trade, have also vowed to resist imposing trade barriers for another year, till 2010 and beyond, if necessary.
Trade ministers from 21 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) economies gathered here on Tuesday to discuss policy responses to the economic crisis as well as preparing for recovery in the longer-term.
APEC Chair and Singapore's Trade & Industry Minister Lim Hng Kiang said: "We are very conscious if protectionism is not controlled, this could be a severe setback to our growth prospects".
The commitments reached on Wednesday will form the basis of the Leaders' Meeting to be held in November.
At the last meeting in Peru in November 2008, APEC leaders had pledged not to put up new trade and investment barriers for a year. But trade ministers now acknowledged that some APEC economies have not complied with that commitment.
The US for one, has faced criticisms over its 'buy-local' trade policy. But US Trade Representative Ron Kirk, who is attending the APEC meeting for the first time, defended his country's policy.
"The Buy-American provision would be implemented in a manner fully consistent with our obligations not only under the WTO, but our obligations under any of our existing Free Trade Agreements," said Mr Kirk.
At the meetings of trade ministers at the Shangri-La hotel, Apec countries agreed to review measures that impacted trade and investment and to notify the WTO of any that fell short of their commitments and then rectify them.
The two-day Ministers Responsible for Trade meeting is the first APEC Ministerial Meeting of APEC 2009 chaired by Singapore.
Channel News Asia, APEC trade ministers end meet with new commitment against protectionism, 22 July 2009,http://www.channelnewsasia.com/stories/singaporebusinessnews/view/444044...
The Straits Times, Apec against trade barriers , 23 July 2009, http://www.straitstimes.com/Breaking%2BNews/Money/Story/STIStory_406925....
Xinhua News, APEC trade ministers discuss crisis recovery in Singapore, 21 July 2009, http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2009-07/21/content_11743502.htm