The APEC business advisory council ABAC, which met in Wellington on Thursday, has called on governments to resist putting up trade barriers in response to the deepening economic gloom.
Meeting chairman Teng Theng Dar of the Singapore Business Federation urged the G20 group of rich countries to stick to their commitment in Washington last year to suspend protectionist measures for 12 months.
He said this was not the time to introduce any measures that would disrupt trade flow and cause further pain to an already distressed situation in the world economy.
Australian delegate John Denton said a relatively speedy resolution to the stalled Doha trade talks is still feasible.
The business advisory council said it would establish a mechanism to monitor countries' compliance with the G20 commitments on trade as a means of helping stave off further protectionist moves.