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APEC summit in Russian port city Vladivostok gets underway

Pacific Rim leaders are set to discuss ways to boost economic growth and end longstanding trade barriers and disputes in the region.

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The APEC summit in Russia got underway Saturday with a goal of ending trade barriers in the region. (Sergei Karpukhin/AFP/Getty Images)

The Asian Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meeting in the Russian port city of Vladivostok got underway Saturday.

Pacific Rim leaders are set to discuss ways to boost economic growth and end longstanding trade barriers and disputes in the region.

For its part, China said that it would try its best to maintain steady economic growth to boost the global recovery and ensure stability of financial markets, reported the Associated Press.

This despite slowing Chinese growth, which is at a three-year low of 7.6 percent in the second quarter.

"The global economy has reached a critical juncture, and we face the arduous task of overcoming major difficulties standing in the way in order to achieve full recovery and ensure steady growth," said Hu Jintao, China's paramount leader, during a side meeting with business leaders.

GlobalPost reported on another early highlight of the talks: Secretary of State Hillary Clinton pledged to end trade sanctions on Russia put in place to punish human rights abuses.

This is in contradiction to past US policy that tied trade relations with human rights violations in Russia.

Apparently, the complexities of this new policy move was discussed by Clinton and the Lavrov over caviar and Russian pancakes.

USA Today reported that with Russia now in the World Trade Organization (WTO), US exports to that country could double or triple in the coming years.

The Syrian conflict was also on the minds of some attendees.

The Canadian Prime Minister, Stephen Harper, urged Putin in a private meeting to end its obstruction of Western efforts to end the bloodshed in Syria.

“Obviously, the government of Russia and ourselves have very different perspectives on this,” Harper said, according to the Canadian Press.

Celebrations marked the beggining of the meetings, reported the Telegraph, with an enormous fireworks and a laser show that cost nearly $10 million.

APEC countries represent 40 percent of the global economy.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/asia-pacific/120908/apec-summit-russian-port-city-vladivostok-gets-underway