Business leaders looking to world heads for stability

Stabilising the world economy will be high on the agenda when business and political leaders meet at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) forum on Monday.

The private sector, which has been operating in an uncertain landscape for the past few years, is looking for assurances from government leaders that they will take steps to manage, for instance, exchange rate risks, Singapore Business Federation chief executive Ho Meng Kit said yesterday.

"There's a lot of volatility in the global market and this volatility is not good for businesses," said the member of the Apec Business Advisory Council (Abac), a private-sector body which comes under the 21-member Apec.

"It brings uncertainty... so what we business leaders want is, can you manage that risk, of making things a little more certain for us, so we can make long-term investment decisions?"

He is hoping that the Apec Leaders' Meetings - which will involve the likes of China's President Xi Jinping and Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe - will "not be hijacked by tensions between members", but instead conclude with a set of conditions that will be good for regional growth.

Mr Ho was speaking to Singapore reporters yesterday at the close of three days of Abac discussions here.

Other issues that the Apec council will raise to the politicians include regional economic integration through free trade agreements, as well as the needs of small and medium-sized enterprises, such as further access to international markets and funding.

limze@sph.com.sg