KUALA LUMPUR, July 26 (Xinhua) -- While the world has finally seen more buoyant growth, protectionism and unilateralism pose a threat to the good momentum, officials of the APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC), a private-sector advisory body for APEC leaders, said Thursday.
"Certain storm clouds exist in the globe with respect to trade and protectionism," ABAC Chair David Toua told a press conference in Kuala Lumpur. "We have given a strong message to APEC economic leaders about our support for the global rules-based trading system and the value we place on pressing ahead towards a Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific."
These, he added, are fundamental to ensure that the region will be dynamic, resilient and sustainable, and a place where everyone can enjoy the opportunities and benefits of regional economic integration.
Trade barriers not only hurt jobs, especially in small- and medium-sized enterprises participating in global value chains, but also affect global communities and environment, Toua said.
"Open and connected markets are not just better for business, they have advanced communities globally. We need to focus on reaching win-win outcomes," he urged.
Business leaders from around the Asia-Pacific who gathered in Kuala Lumpur for a three-day ABAC meeting also expressed deep concern about the risks to continued prosperity from the current turbulent trade and economic environment.
The International Monetary Fund estimates the global economy will expand 3.9 percent this year. However, the rise in trade tensions is a significant downside risk, it has warned.
ABAC Malaysia Chair Rohana Mahmood voiced her concern over the impacts of global trade tensions on small and open economies, including Malaysia.
ABAC was created by APEC leaders in 1995. Each economy has three members and they meet four times a year to prepare for their recommendations to the APEC leaders.