The APEC summit, propelled by “green growth”, has concluded with a joint declaration that highlighted the bloc’s commitment against protectionism amid challenges to food security, Japan’s Kyodo News agency reports.

Russian President Vladimir Putin told reporters that food security is a serious challenge that the world faces amid the global financial crisis. Leaders from net food importers, such as Japan, raised concerns on the impact of food export restrictions which may cause food prices to rise sharply.

In the joint declaration, members reaffirmed their commitment to “exercising maximum restraints on measures having a protectionist effect to counter slowing growth,” negotiation sources said. Leaders acknowledged that “maintaining free trade is the most effective way to revive growth” and vowed to strengthen food security, “recognizing that bans and other restrictions on the export of food may cause price volatility”. The declaration also bound the members to an agreement aimed at “increasing agricultural production and productivity to improve vulnerable group’s access to food”.

Th APEC summit’s progress was held back by tensions over territorial disputes in the region but made progress on expanding a list of environmentally sound goods which would receive tariff reductions.