HONOLULU, Nov. 14 (UPI) -- Leaders of the 21-member Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, meeting in Honolulu, agreed to take steps aimed at increasing job creation and economic growth.
At the organization's 19th annual meeting, hosted by U.S. President Barack Obama, the leaders agreed to adopt market-driven innovation policies, reduce tariffs and eliminate other barriers to trade in environmental goods and services, and improve regulation to reduce unnecessary burdens on businesses.
"These steps will help U.S. growth and jobs by expanding export opportunities in the world's fastest-growing region," a White House release said.
The APEC leaders, noting current global economic uncertainties, agreed continued focus on creating jobs and growth is vital.
"Supporting [Obama's] goal of doubling exports in five years, APEC leaders agreed to reduce barriers to trade and investment" by setting a model for innovation that is market-driven and non-discriminatory and not government-directed or protectionist.
They would seek to make it cheaper, easier, and faster for businesses, especially those that are small and medium-sized, to trade in the region by exempting more low-value shipments from customs duties and simplifying customs requirements and documentation.
As part of their commitment to promoting a green economy, the APEC leaders agreed to support sustainable growth and create green jobs by developing a list of environmental goods on which APEC economies will reduce applied tariffs to 5 percent or less by 2015.
The APEC leaders discussed how they can cooperate to prevent adverse effects of the European debt crisis from spreading to the Asia-Pacific region, Kyodo News reported.
APEC is made up of the United States, Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Peru, the Philippines, Russia, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam.
In other developments, Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda earlier announced his government's decision to join current talks on a free-trade initiative called the Trans-Pacific Partnership, now involving nine of the APEC countries, Kyodo News reported. The TPP includes the United States, Australia, New Zealand, Brunei, Chile, Malaysia, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam.
The TPP effort comes as the Doha round of global talks remains stalled.