LIMA /PERU/, November 19. /TASS/. The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit that will bring together leaders of the world’s 21 major economies to discuss trade and economic development will open Saturday in Peru’s capital Lima.
Peruvian Ambassador Luis Quesada, who serves as this year’s Chair of the APEC Senior Officials, said the forum would focus on four major subjects - the free trade zone, competitiveness of services, transport issues, and progress in trade liberalization and investment.
The event will be attended by Russian President Vladimir Putin, US President Barack Obama, Chinese President Xi Jinping, prime ministers of Japan and Australia - Shinzo Abe and Malcolm Turnbull, IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde and other heads of states and governments.
For Obama, the APEC meeting will be the last international summit before he leaves his office in January. On the sidelines of the event, the outgoing US president is expected to meet with leaders of 12 Pacific Rim states participating in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) - Australia, Brunei, Vietnam, Canada, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, Chile and Japan.
US president-elect Donald Trump lambasted the TPP deal during his presidential campaign, and the agreement’s future was put into question by his victory. Last week, congressional leaders agreed that the draft TPP agreement would not be brought before the Congress during the lame-duck session.
The deal’s uncertain fate triggered rumors about setting up a new international trade agreement with the participation of Russia and China, bue excluding the United States. The Russian Foreign Ministry, however, was skeptical about the idea.
‘This is nonsense. The Asia-Pacific zone of free trade will be inclusive and open to everyone," Russian Foreign Ministry’s Ambassador-at-Large and APEC Senior Official Valery Sorokin said.
Ahead of the meeting, the host nation leader, President of Peru Pedro Pablo Kuczynski, called on for efforts against protectionism in the global economy.
"We are facing a challenge in what concerns global trade: its growth has stopped in the recent years. We see that big companies have gone bankrupt or were forced to carry out restructuring. It is necessary to regain global trade growth and defeat protectionism," he said at a meeting with top executives of international companies held in Lima ahead of the summit.
Due to the arrival of global leaders, security was beefed up in Lima, with road traffic totally cut in areas surrounding the summit’s main venues and helicopters hovering above. According to Interior Minister Carlos Basombrio, a total of 11,400 police officers will be on duty to ensure security.
APEC is an international forum bringing together 21 leading economies of the world for cooperation on trade and economic development of the region. Creating the system of free and open trade and a liberal investment regime in the Asia-Pacific region has been declared the main task for APEC until the year 2020.
APEC nations account for 57% of global GDP, for 48% of global trade, and 40% of the global population.
Russia has been a member of APEC since 1998.