Finance ministers from the Asia-Pacific agreed to boost growth to combat the effects of the European crisis and said free trade should remain in global agricultural markets at a time when poor harvests inflate grain prices.
During a meeting in Russia, the ministers of the Forum of Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) made a call to resist protectionist measures in agriculture.
The call comes just as Russia is facing its worst wheat harvest in nine years and a prolonged drought has decimated US crops.
The ministers stressed “The need to avoid export bans,” an apparent reference to host Russia, which imposed a temporary embargo on grain exports two years ago.
Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov endorsed the joint statement and said at the press conference in Moscow that the restrictions on agricultural trade “Would not help to keep the trend toward economic growth.”
Many APEC states are net importers of food and the finance minister of South Korea, Bahk Jae-wan, underlined the risks that could be caused by an increase in grain prices to economies “already growing slowly”.
At its last meeting before a summit of APEC leaders to be hosted by Russia in Vladivostok, the ministers also expressed concern about the failure of European leaders to resolve the debt crisis in the Euro zone.
“We would encourage Europeans to continue their path of reforms and to establish a clear and sensible way so that governments and markets understand very clearly the path of reform,” said Australian Finance Minister Penny Wong.
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