"We have seen a bit more restricted transactions within APEC countries. The world of today after the Brexit vote and the US elections is looking at the trend towards closing borders," Bustamante said.
Global forums, including APEC, are now especially important as they may serve as venues for addressing negative trends in the world's economy through promoting free trade and export-oriented economic models, he added.
"We witness the trend which indicates that, when economies start looking inside themselves instead of expanding, the recession comes along with a slower growth rate. We have to be vocal about it. The only way to grow is through openness between borders," Bustamante stressed.
APEC was established in 1989 to promote free trade throughout the Asia-Pacific region. A number of APEC members have also been negotiating the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement which is currently awaiting ratification.
The prospects of the United States finalizing the deal suffered a blow after Trump’s election. During his election campaign, Trump labeled the deal "a disaster," as well as criticizing the US-EU Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) and proposing to pull out of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) in a bid to safeguard US jobs.