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Southeast Asian leaders affirm free trade goals

AP  |  Nusa Dua 

Leaders of the have reaffirmed their commitment to open trading systems that have underpinned their economic growth.

The leaders met Thursday in Bali, Indonesia, on the sidelines of the annual meeting of the and

said the group will redouble efforts to reach a "substantial conclusion" to a regional trade arrangement, the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, by the end of the year.

That initiative includes China, and Japan, but not the Indonesian said ASEAN, which includes wealthy and poorer countries like and Laos, also is determined to close gaps in development within ASEAN.

He said: "This is important, to make sure that no one is left behind."

About a dozen activists have staged a brief, peaceful protest at the annual meeting of the and the in Bali,

Representatives of various rights groups held up placards and chanted "Defend peoples' rights!" and "Stop the attacks!" outside meeting rooms at a convention centre where media and groups are gathered during the annual meeting.

Those involved had badges allowing them to enter the tightly guarded venue.

Members of advocacy groups for women, farmers and workers said their gathering of about 500 at a hotel in the city of Denpasar, miles from the conference, was twice shut down by police.

An IMF staff member said she would discuss the issue and bring it to the "highest levels.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Thu, October 11 2018. 20:05 IST