China Pledges Support for Economic Recovery, Urges Free Trade

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Singapore – China’s President Hu Jintao says his country is working hard to increase domestic demand and that Asia-Pacific economies must work together to open up trade.

In a speech at the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation forum in Singapore, the Chinese president listed his country’s efforts at fighting the global economic crisis.


President Hu Jintao says China made timely adjustments to economic policy including a major stimulus package and adjustments to its monetary policy.

He says China’s focus is now on increasing domestic demand.

Mr. Hu says the measures China adopted to counter the crisis are conducive to the steady and relatively fast growth of the Chinese economy. He says they also helped the international effort to lessen the effects of the financial crisis and restore world economic growth.

But, the Chinese president echoed warnings from APEC leaders that the global economy is still fragile.

Mr. Hu says Asia-Pacific economies must continue to promote trade and investment liberalization and oppose all forms of protectionism. In particular, he says, they must oppose what he calls the unreasonable trade and investment restrictions imposed on developing countries.

He says industrialized economies should intensify technology transfers to developing nations, especially on environmental technology to prevent what he called a “green divide.”

China’s efforts to help revive the global economy have received wide praise during the APEC meetings this week.

Concerns raised before the annual summit about the value of China’s currency, the yuan, have been played down by economic leaders. However, APEC leaders are expected to call for exchange rates to reflect market realities, apparently referring to the tightly controlled yuan.

Dominique Stauss-Kahn is the International Monetary Fund’s managing director. He says some Asian currencies, including China’s, are undervalued, but he says that steps to increase Asia’s domestic demand will result in a gradual increase in their value.

“It’s more consequence of rebalancing than a variable on which you may try to push to create the rebalancing,” Stauss-Kahn says, “So, it’s part of the global package and I expect that in the coming years this revaluation of Asian currency will take place reflecting the rapid growth in Asia, the important yield that capital inflow can find in Asia, and altogether, the increasing weight of Asia in the global economy.”

Strauss-Kahn says the global recovery will take years and that Asia is likely to recover from the economic crisis faster than the United States, which is expected to recover before Europe.

The APEC meetings bring together leaders from 21 Pacific Rim economies.

U.S. President Barack Obama will be attending in his first trip to Asia as president.

‘VOA news issued this report’