Jakarta (ANTARA) - Trade ministers from member economies of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) are convening in Chile, host of the APEC 2019, to strengthen regional economic integration, against a backdrop of slowing trade growth.

APEC's trade ministers reiterated the intention to continue economic cooperation for continued growth, as noted in a written statement issued by the APEC Secretariat and received here on Sunday.

In a meeting held in the seaside town of Vina del Mar, Chile, APEC's trade ministers focused on ways to fortify collaboration between the 21 Pacific Rim economies, particularly on boosting trade, which for decades motored economic expansion across the region.

Working on the principles of consensus-based, non-binding voluntary dialogue, APEC has successfully encouraged and mobilized more trade, which contributed 45 percent of regional gross domestic product (GDP) in 2017. Despite recent trade frictions, the forum continues to engage on economic cooperation in the interest of mutual economic growth.

"Together we have constructed an integration orientated forum, through open and constructive dialog, that has helped underpin economic growth and prosperity in the region," said Chile’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Roberto Ampuero, who is chairing the APEC Ministers Responsible for Trade meetings.

At the same time, Ampuero reinforced the need for APEC member economies to address emerging disparities resulting from trade policies.

"Our inclusive and sustainable growth priorities are directed as much by the conviction that there are important principles at stake, as they are by our determination to identify new sources of economic growth that puts people, and their future, at the center of our work," he stated.

Chile typifies how the APEC membership can facilitate growth. Since joining 25 years ago, Chile’s exports to the Asia Pacific region have grown almost 800 percent and generated a million jobs. Today, the APEC economies account for 66 percent of Chile’s total trade and 59 percent of its foreign investment.

Reporter: Yuni Arisandy Sinaga
Editor: Bambang Purwanto
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