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Chinese president calls for infrastructure upgrades in Asia-Pacific

Chinese President Hu Jintao delivers a keynote speech at the APEC CEO summit in Vladivostok, east Russia, Sept. 8, 2012. (Xinhua/Rao Aimin)

VLADIVOSTOK, Sept. 8 (Xinhua) -- Chinese President Hu Jintao on Saturday stressed the need for the Asia-Pacific region to upgrade infrastructure to jointly promote sustained economic recovery and growth.

In a key-note speech at the CEO summit of Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), Hu said the world economy was recovering slowly and there were still some destabilizing factors and uncertainties.

"The Asia Pacific has, on the whole, maintained sound momentum of growth and acquired a more important position and played a more prominent role in the world economy," he said.

However, the region should not overlook the impact brought about by the grave challenges facing the global economy, he warned.

Hu put forward a four-point proposal on infrastructure development in the context of promoting stable growth and recovery in the Asia-Pacific region.

Firstly, the region should speed up infrastructure development to strengthen the foundation of development, he said.

Infrastructure is essential for achieving economic and social development, Hu said, adding that governments should play an important role in infrastructure building and step up financial support for infrastructure development.

"We should improve and explore new mechanisms for infrastructure investment and financing and encourage participation in infrastructure development by various actors," he said.

Secondly, the Asia-Pacific should improve the connectivity and efficiency of supply chains to ensure the smooth functioning of infrastructure, Hu said.

For this purpose, he said, the region needs to continue to implement the Supply Chain Connectivity Action Plan, work for the development of "Single Window Systems" in all APEC economies, and deepen cooperation under the APEC Business Travel Cards program.

Hu expressed the hope that other APEC members, people from the business community in particular, would support and join a multi-year initiative proposed by China to support small and medium-sized enterprises in terms of access to information, cross-border cooperation and capacity building.

Thirdly, the region should deepen reform of the investment structure to share opportunities in infrastructure development, he said.

The Chinese president said the business community is a major force driving both economic development in the Asia-Pacific and international trade.

"Governments should seek the views and suggestions of the business community, support the private sector in engaging in infrastructure development, remove policy barriers and institutional obstacles, widen channels for accessing private capital and encourage market competition," Hu said.

Fourthly, the Asia-Pacific should strengthen exchanges and cooperation to jointly promote connectivity in the region, he said.

Hu said APEC should continue to leverage its strengths in promoting supply chain connectivity and trade facilitation.

"In addition, APEC members need to strengthen regulatory coherence and people-to-people exchanges and conduct wide-ranging and multi-level cooperation in promoting connectivity," Hu said.

The Chinese president, who is here for the APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting slated for Saturday and Sunday, will discuss with leaders of other APEC members trade and investment liberalization, regional economic integration, food security as well as cooperation in fostering innovative growth.

APEC, a premier economic forum in the Asia-Pacific region, was established in 1989. It has grown to encompass 21 members spanning four continents, and accounts for about 40 percent of the world's population, 57 percent of the global GDP and 48 percent of the world trade.

The APEC CEO summit, an annual forum for representatives of the Asia-Pacific business leaders, is part of a series of meetings organized for leaders and senior officials from all APEC economies.

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