PORT MORESBY, Nov. 16 (Xinhua) -- Members of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) need to put more efforts in promoting free trade and embracing digital revolution to achieve inclusive growth in the region, Papua New Guinean (PNG) Prime Minister Peter O'Neill said on Friday.
Delivering the opening remarks at the APEC CEO summit, O'Neill emphasized the importance of inclusiveness for the less-developed region, demonstrated by the theme of this year's APEC -- "Harnessing Inclusive Opportunities, Embracing the Digital Future."
"The theme for this summit and APEC Papua New Guinea is particularly important and relevant for our people. Creating inclusive opportunities and embracing the digital future are essential for any country," he said.
Identifying some of the challenges faced by the region, O'Neill urged APEC economies to work within the existing international trading regime, as countries like PNG relies on international trade for economic growth.
"We suffer when rules are broken or ignored and we benefit when rules are followed by all countries large and small," he said.
While pushing for free trade, O'Neill said policies need to be devised to shape the economic development prospect and reduce income inequality in the societies.
"Policies must be aimed at improving productivity, raising low- and middle-income levels, so that we can make better standard of living for our people," said the prime minister.
As digitalization could facilitate inclusiveness, O'Neill called for greater investment in infrastructure to deliver efficient, reliable and more affordable internet connections to the people.
"Digital revolution offers us the prospect of ensuring that no citizens are left behind," he said.
Noting that it is the first time that the APEC meetings are held in PNG, O'Neill said this was made possible by the continuing economic growth in the country, as the economic management by the government and the opportunities are being increasingly recognized by the international community.
The APEC CEO summit gathers leaders, government officials, business communities across the region to discuss a wide range of issues including globalization, growth of micro, small and medium-sized enterprises, digitalization and inclusive growth.