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Last Updated: Friday, 17 November 2006, 12:06 GMT
Chinese leader in investment plea
Chinese President Hu Jintao
Foreign firms have not been slow to invest in China
Chinese President Hu Jintao has urged wealthy nations to invest more in developing countries in Asia.

Speaking at the Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation summit in Vietnam, Mr Hu said developing countries were not benefiting fully from globalization.

He called for commitments to poorer countries "with no strings attached".

"To narrow the development gap and promote common development remains a major challenge facing us," he told business leaders in Hanoi.

Mr Hu is one of a host of world leaders, including Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and US President George W Bush, attending a summit focusing on regional trade and security.

'Fair share'

Vietnam and other countries in the region have won praise for their economic progress and ability to attractive foreign investment.

Illustrating this, Vietnam signed two deals with US companies worth $1.5bn (795m) on the sidelines of the summit.

Some developing countries have not gained their fair share of benefit from economic globalization
Hu Jintao

State-owned Vietnam Coal and Minerals Corporation agreed a deal with US firm AES Corp to build a $1.4bn coal-fired power plant about 150 miles east of Hanoi.

The 2,000 megawatt facility is due to be completed by 2010.

Separately, Vietnam National Shipping Lines is to build a $100m container terminal in a joint venture with Seattle firm SSA Marine.

But Mr Hu warned that "economic imbalances" in the region would persist unless developed countries were willing to co-operate to promote technological and financial development.

"Some developing countries have not gained their fair share of benefit from economic globalisation," he added.

Mr Hu stressed that China would encourage foreign investment itself by opening its services sector to competition and improving protection for intellectual property.

Russian interest

Russia has stressed that it is on the hunt for investment opportunities in the region, particularly in the strategically vital energy sector.

Russian trade with Apec members is currently worth less than a third of its trade with the EU, but is set to increase by 30% annually.

Worker opens a valve on a gas pipeline in Siberia
Energy needs could smooth Russia's way into Asia

Much of Russia's focus is on the energy sector, with countries such as Japan looking to oil and gas projects on the Pacific island of Sakhalin to help secure its long-term energy needs.

Russian President Vladimir Putin recently said his country would play an "active part" in regional energy projects, including plans to build two pipelines from Russia to China.

"In Apec, we are looking for new markets to sell our products," Vladimir Frolov, an official with Russia's Economic Development and Trade Ministry, said in Hanoi.

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