LIMA, Peru – Wrapping up a two-day economic summit Sunday, leaders in the Pacific Rim said that they believed the global financial crisis could come to an end in mid-2010. President Bush however, believes that the impact of his administration's pro-growth policies should be felt sooner — even within the coming months, White House Press Secretary Dana Perino told FOX News.
"The leaders at APEC reaffirmed their commitment to continuing to work together on the short, mid, and long-term needs of the global economy, through increased free trade and free markets. And you'll see that we all committed to implementing the work of the G20 working groups as well," Perino told FOX News.
In a statement released Sunday, 21 Pacific Rim leaders said they were "convinced" that the global crisis could be overcome in 2010.
"We have already taken urgent and extraordinary steps to stabilize our financial sectors and strengthen economic growth," the statement said.
The words of confidence were added early Sunday to a joint declaration that the leaders of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum originally issued on Saturday. According to Perino, the 18-month estimate was added at the request of Peruvian President Alan Garcia, whose country hosted the summit.
The leaders also added language saying they were sending their ministers to Geneva next month to jumpstart the so-called Doha round of World Trade Organization talks. Concern over the global financial crisis injected new urgency into the negotiations.
The 21 members, who represent more than half the world's economy, are struggling to restore confidence in the world's ailing financial system by declaring their opposition to new trade barriers.
The summit endorsed a blueprint worked out at a summit of top economies in Washington, but stopped short of major new proposals to ward off a punishing global recession.
A broad 12-point declaration was expected at the end of the summit Sunday. A preliminary draft provided by two delegations sad the nations were deeply concerned about instability in food prices, were committed to battling piracy, and supported "decisive and effective long-term cooperation" to combat climate change.
While such summits have in the past focused on a grab bag of issues, this year's meeting in the Peruvian capital has been dominated by the world's economic meltdown. A credit crunch in the United States has roiled global markets and dragged part of the world into recession.
On Saturday, APEC nations — including those not represented at the Washington summit — endorsed the conclusions of that meeting. Those included a pledge to resist domestic pressures to protect industries, while ensuring that small and medium-sized companies have enough credit to stay afloat.
The leaders called for greater APEC participation in the International Monetary Fund and other multilateral lenders. Japan said last week it was ready to lend up to $100 billion to the IMF, but China has so far resisted entreaties to dig into its $1.9 trillion in reserves.
The summit was expected to be the final foreign trip for George W. Bush as U.S. president. President-elect Barack Obama takes office Jan. 20, and delegates in Lima said there was little incentive to propose more concrete action without his presence. Obama did not send representatives to Lima.
Even people who work for Bush acknowledged that tough issues such as a stalled U.S.-South Korea free-trade agreement would likely have to wait.
"I think the very understandable concern of these foreign governments is, will the new administration do some sort of policy review," said Dennis Wilder, senior director for Asian affairs at the National Security Council.
Obama has said one area he wants to review is the U.S. free-trade agreement with Canada and Mexico, but in Lima the leaders of those two countries telegraphed their resistance to that idea.
Mexican President Felipe Calderon said any attempt to renegotiate the 15-year-old pact would create "not more markets and more trade, but fewer markets and less trade." Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper hailed NAFTA as a great success.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.