BALI, Indonesia, Oct. 7 (Xinhua) -- APEC leaders were urged to push ahead with their growth strategy to strengthen the global recovery despite continued unevenness in growth between economies by the Indonesian president ahead of their retreat here on Monday.
The Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) leaders meeting, themed "Resilient Asia-Pacific, Engine of Global Growth", kicked off here and included a leader's retreat, which was watched with keen interest.
"We convene the APEC Leaders' meeting at a very critical juncture," said Yudhoyono who pointed to signs of an improvement in growth in many developed economies while emerging markets struggle to address an economic slowdown.
"Such a situation should be carefully managed, otherwise it could weaken the momentum for recovery," Yudhoyono cautioned. This is especially the case in emerging economies, including Indonesia, he added.
As a whole, APEC's 21 member economies account for 54 percent of global gross domestic product and are expected to grow 6.3 percent in 2013 and 6.6 percent in 2014, according to the International Monetary Fund.
"In spite of the uneven pace of recovery, in the APEC region, the APEC economies continue to be the driving force for global growth," Yudhoyono said. "We should re-double our efforts to sustain our resilience and maintain our role as the pillar and the safety belt of global growth."
APEC economies are guided by the shared commitment to achieving the Bogor Goals for free and open trade and investment in the APEC region by 2020. This includes working together to further lower tariffs in the region, which have declined by nearly 70 percent since 1989, and greater collaboration to lower the cost of doing business across borders.
"We have even greater opportunities for achieving more productive and larger trade and investment," Yudhoyono concluded. "To seize these opportunities, our region needs to be more interconnected and interlinked."
Chinese President Xi Jinping, who also attended Monday's summit, warned against a world trade regime fragmented by various free trade arrangements, calling for determination to conclude the long- stalled Doha Round of global trade talks.
On Tuesday, leaders will meet again and focus on connectivity in the evolving regional and international architecture and will issue a joint declaration by the end of their meeting.
As the highest-level meeting of the APEC, the informal economic leaders' meeting has been held annually since its first convention in Seattle, the United States in November 1993.
Last year's summit was convened in Vladivostok, Russia.