When Asia-Pacific economic leaders gather in Manila, they should focus their discussions on ways to ensure that more people are part of the growth of the region, said the Pacific Economic Cooperation Council's annual State of the Region report released in Manila on Monday.[Special coverage]
According to the report, the region will grow at 3.2 percent this year, the slowest rate since the global financial crisis of 2008-2009.
Almost 40 percent of respondents to PECC's annual survey expected weaker growth for the global economy over the next 12 months, citing reasons including failure to implement structural reforms, a lack of political leadership and concerns regarding the Chinese and U.S. economies.
"APEC's agenda has moved on from a focus on trade liberalization to addressing a broader set of issues since the Philippines last hosted the meetings in 1996," said Eduardo Pedrosa, coordinator of the report and Secretary General of PECC.
He said while continuing with the implementation of the vision APEC set out when it started, there needs to be a much greater focus on ensuring that future growth is more inclusive. The top areas identified by the survey for promoting inclusive growth include provision of public education, reducing corruption, providing support to small-and-medium sized enterprise among others.
These priorities for inclusive growth were reflected in the issues that stakeholders in the Asia-Pacific cooperation identified as the top priorities for the Leaders' discussion which will cover Progress towards the Bogor Goals, the Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific, the APEC Growth Strategy and other topics.
This week's APEC gatherings in Philippines culminate with the APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting on Wednesday and Thursday, during which they will discuss strategic vision and directives for the region's future collaboration.