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Apec upbeat over global downturn

Mr Bush wore a Peruvian poncho along with other leaders at the final photo-call

Leaders of Asia-Pacific nations have closed their annual summit by declaring their belief that the global economic crisis can be overcome by 2010.

The 21 leaders meeting in Lima, Peru, said they supported economic stimulus to ward off the threat of recession.

They signed a final declaration backing free trade and insisting that the economic crisis could be overcome.

The meeting was US President George W Bush's final summit before leaving office on 20 January.

In their closing declaration, the leaders of the Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation (Apec) nations backed emerging global plans to boost spending in the face of lower economic growth rates.

"We are convinced that we can overcome this crisis in a period of 18 months," the statement said.


We will act quickly and decisively to address the impending global economic slowdown
Apec statement

"We have already taken urgent and extraordinary steps to stabilise our financial sectors and strengthen economic growth," Peruvian President Alan Garcia said on behalf of the delegates.

"We will act quickly and decisively to address the impending global economic slowdown."

Apec members account for more than half of all world trade and include nine members of the G20 group of leading industrialised and developing nations, which met in Washington last weekend to formulate their own response to the crisis.

No barriers

The leaders also agreed to seek a solution to the deadlock in the current Doha round of the World Trade Talks, saying they would send ministers to Geneva next month to try and restart the process.

"A prompt, ambitious and balanced conclusion to the World Trade Organisation - Doha Development Agenda negotiations would deliver substantial improvements in market access and reduce market-distorting measures in global agricultural trade," they said.

The final declaration followed a statement made at the half-way point of the summit on Saturday, in which the leaders agreed to avoid protectionist measures and keep trade free despite the economic climate.

Mr Bush received warm applause on Saturday when he used a summit speech to call for a renewed commitment to free trade.

Despite the upbeat statements and rhetoric, the BBC's Dan Collyns in Lima says there was a sense that concrete action would not be taken until US President-elect Barack Obama took office in January.

Mr Bush used the summit to say farewell to several of the major world leaders he has dealt with regularly during his time in office.

He held meetings with the leaders of Japan and China, and was honest about his working relationship with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev.

"We've had agreements and we've had disagreements," said Mr Bush.

The final declaration of the Apec meeting is likely to please Mr Bush, who has consistently pushed for open markets, our correspondent says.

But there were some voices of caution, including those of Mexican President Felipe Calderon and Canada's Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

Mr Calderon said the prospect of ending the economic problems was more of an estimate than a prediction, while Mr Harper stressed his concern that fiscal stimulus packages should not leave countries with unmanageable budget deficits.

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SEE ALSO
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Bush issues Apec free trade call
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China and Peru agree trade deal
20 Nov 08 |  Asia-Pacific
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19 Nov 08 |  Americas

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