HONOLULU, Nov 11 (Reuters) - Business leaders attending the APEC CEO summit on Friday pressed for measures to promote growth by liberalizing trade and easing regulatory barriers to counter the economic headi winds from Europe’s crisis.
Finance, foreign and trade ministers also gathered at the APEC summit here to discuss ways to foster strong growth.
Following are comments from business and government ministers attending the APEC meetings:
SINGAPORE‘S PRIME MINISTER LEE HSIEN LOONG:
ON EUROPE: “We are preoccupied, and I think for the time being rightly so, with problems off-stage, elsewhere, with Italy and Europe.”
ON CHINA’s YUAN CURRENCY: “The currency is one of the issues we have with them. It’s not something which can easily be discussed under the glare of spotlights. But off-stage, accommodations are being made.”
ON EUROPE: “Europeans have to... provide a clear picture and provide a solution and put their hands around their own issues, and the international community is willing to help.”
ON CHINA‘S YUAN: “A more flexible exchange rate is good for China, good for the whole world.”
ON IMF FINANCIAL RESOURCES: “We do have enough resources to fulfill our mission to maintain global financial stability. We will see how things happen and evolve and what type of resources we need and see also what our member countries require us to do.”
DEB HENRETTA, PROCTER AND GAMBLE, Group President for Asia, and Chair of APEC Business Advisory Council.
On national innovation policies:
“Innovation policies are of particular interest (to the business community). In global markets, innovation policy has the potential to intersect with trade and investment policy in several ways. These include product standards, government procurement, regulatory issues and intellectual property rights. In many economies, the formation of national innovation programs is still in the early stages. As such, the timing is right for APEC economies to agree on principles that would guide economies in the development of innovation policies that are market driven, nondiscriminatory ” THURSDAY COMMENTS:
U.S. TREASURY SECRETARY TIMOTHY GEITHNER Press Conference:
“That basic framework is a good framework but we need to see it put in place with the speed that markets require and with the force that restores confidence. They’re moving ahead. We just need to see them move a little more quickly and with a little more force behind it.”
”I think it’s important to recognize, as I said in my remarks, these economies -- including the United States -- have the capacity to do things now to make growth stronger.
Both to offset some of the pressure we’re facing from Europe, but also because the world as a whole needs it. Even when Europe stabilizes, you’re going to see growth damaged by the magnitude of the crisis so far.
So there’s a very strong rationale for economies that have the capacity to do it to act now to strengthen growth.”
”I think the judgment of most independent analysts and economist who would look at the Chinese exchange rate would say that it’s still significantly undervalued.
That is one reason why -- although I don’t want to put words in their mouth -- that’s one reason why the Chinese believe it’s in their interest to let the exchange rate continue to move in response to market forces.
And our judgment is, it’s better for market forces, it’s better for the world, it’s better for the United States if China allows the exchange rate to move more rapidly.”
GEITHNER‘S PREPARED REMARKS:
”The crisis in Europe remains the central challenge to global growth. It is crucial that Europe move quickly to put in place a strong plan to restore financial stability.
We are all directly affected by the crisis in Europe, but the economies gathered here are in a better position than most to take steps to strengthen growth in the face of these pressures from Europe.”
“As the United States continues to work through the problems that caused our crisis and Europe confronts a period of slower growth, Asian economies will need to do more to stimulate domestic demand growth both so they are less vulnerable to slowdowns, such as the situation in Europe, and so they can continue to contribute to global growth.”
“This process of rebalancing will be aided by exchange rate policies in China and other Asian economies that allow their currencies to adjust in response to market forces. China, in particular, must continue to allow its currency to strengthen, and China has acknowledged the importance of faster exchange rate adjustment.”
Asked what his concerns are about the situation in Europe, he told reporters before attending a meeting of finance ministers: “It is not being dealt with forcefully.” On steps the Philippines would take to manage any outflows or fallout: “We will do whatever is necessary, but capital controls are certainly not being considered right now.”
On the economy: “We are doing very well.”
On possible fiscal Stimulus: “We have a lot of fiscal space if we need it....Whatever is necessary, we will be doing, our interest rates are low.”
“We’ve had such strong exports to Europe and now with the European financial crisis those will come down, appear to be coming down” Bryson told Reuters in an interview.
“There’s not reason to think we can improve meaningfully in Europe,” but markets such as China, Malaysia, South Korea and others in the Asia Pacific region offer more promise, he said.