'Vigorously expand'

"The inherent problems of the international economic system have not been fully addressed and a comprehensive world economic recovery still faces many uncertainties and destabilising factors.

FROM THE BLOGS
Apec - functional, or just fashionable?
By Teymoor Nabili in The Asia Blog
"China will further boost domestic demand, vigorously expand the domestic market, and promote balanced growth of domestic and external demand."

Hu added that the focus of Beijing's 4 trillion yuan ($586 billion) stimulus package was on expanding China's domestic demand and creating a new pattern of economic
growth.

Al Jazeera's Veronica Pedrosa, reporting from the Apec summit venue, said discussion at the summit would centre on China's role that is best placed for leading the world out of economic decline.

With much of the world still reeling from the impact of the slowdown, she said the catchwords of the summit were "inclusive, balanced and sustainable growth", with the emerging economies of Asia, particularly China, taking centre stage.

special report

In the run-up to the leaders' summit at the weekend, Asia-Pacific finance ministers have already been discussing the challenges of sustaining global recovery and encouraging free trade.

The week-long Apec forum culminates in a high-level summit that will include Obama, China's president Hu, and Yukio Hatoyama, the Japanese prime minister.

On Thursday Beijing won praise from the US treasury secretary, Timothy Geithner, among others for its mix of stimulus spending and stable finances that had helped breathe life into the global economy.

"If you look at the broad thrust of policy from China, it is playing a major role in helping contribute to recovery," Geithner said.

China's influence

China's economic influence over the region is expanding.

Timothy Geithner said the challenge is to stimulate economic growth [Reuters]
In the past decade, China, the world's third-biggest economy, replaced the US as the biggest trading partners for Japan and South Korea.

China's economic recovery from a slowdown late last year, recording 8.9 per cent growth in the third quarter, is widely credited with helping stimulate demand and counter recessions in other countries.

"Right now, the challenge is growth," Geithner said.

"First growth: Let's make sure we have business confidence restored, private investment sustaining again, unemployment coming down, the financial sectors definitively repaired."

The US treasury chief however shied away from comment on whether Obama, who will visit Beijing next week, would lobby Chinese leaders for faster movement on loosening restrictions on the Chinese currency, the yuan.

US manufacturers, and many in Europe and Asia, have long complained that the yuan's effective peg against a weakening US dollar, makes Chinese exports artificially cheaper, and thus more competitive, in overseas markets.