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PECC notes slower economic growth in Asia Pacific region this year

/ 04:09 PM November 16, 2015

The regional economy of the Asia Pacific is set to grow at 3.2 percent this year, the lowest since the 2010 bounce following the global financial crisis, the Pacific Economic Cooperation Council (PECC) said on Monday.

In a press briefing at the International Media Center for the Apec 2015 summit, PECC Secretary General Eduardo Pedrosa presented the findings of its annual State of the Region report on the Asia Pacific region.

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“The average growth for the region has really slowed down from an average rate of five percent to around 3.5 percent. This year is the lowest since the bounce of 2010 from the global financial crisis,” Pedrosa said.

“What we think is therefore an urgent need to rethink growth strategies. The economy aspire and demand growth that is sustainable and inclusive,” he added.

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He said the factors which caused the slowdown and among the top risks to growth are the Chinese economic slowdown, from an average 10 percent to eight percent; failure to implement structural reforms; lack of political leadership; a slowdown in the US economy; and the lack of adequate infrastructure.

Pedrosa said among the areas that need structural reforms are innovation and entrepreneurship, education and labor, infrastructure, among others.

He said that of the infrastructure, at least 45.7 percent were dissatisfied or slightly satisfied with land transportation, and 31.7 percent with broadband internet access.

Pedrosa said reporters were often making comments that if possible, the increased bandwidth for the delegates of Apec be retained even after the summit.

“Some reporters were asking why can’t we have this everyday, why can’t we have Apec everyday?” Pedrosa said.

He said in education, 64.4 percent were not at all or slightly satisfied with the match between educational training and needs of the economy.

The report included surveys among respondents from non-government organizations, government, business, academic research, civil society, and media.

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The PECC recommended more actions to promote inclusive growth.

It cited the need for the following priorities: a focus on broadening participation, removal of barriers to participation, the empowerment of participation, and the promotion of resilience, particularly from the risks brought about by climate change and disaster.

Pedrosa said Trans-Pacific Partnership among other agreements under negotiation is expected to significantly boost growth.

He said the TPP if ratified could generate as much as $225 billion to the world economy by 2025, while the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership could plug in $645 billion. Meanwhile, the Free Trade Area of the Asia Pacific (FTAAP) could bring in $2.5 trillion in additional revenue to the world economy.

“Over the course of Apec’s history, almost 300 million people have been lifted out of poverty, but there are still many more that are excluded from the growth story. In such a big grouping, the priorities for reform will always diverge depending on the circumstances of each individual economy,” Pedrosa said.

The PECC is a non-profit, policy-oriented regional organization for the promotion of Asia Pacific cooperation.

It serves as an independent forum to discuss cooperation and policy coordination.

The PECC also serves as an official observer of the Apec process.

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TAGS: APEC, Apec 2015, apec2015, Asia, Asia-Pacific, Economy, growth, Pacific Economic Cooperation Council, PECC
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