SINGAPORE (AFP) - From nurses to welders, Asia-Pacific economies including the United States and Japan face critical labour shortages if they fail to allow easier movement of temporary workers, a study has warned. The research, commissioned by the APEC Business Advisory Council and obtained by AFP on Monday, urged governments to address the problem or risk hampering business competitiveness and economic growth. The report, expected to be circulated at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meeting in Singapore this week, said most free-trade deals within the grouping looked at easing travel for businessmen. They ignore the movement of the actual skilled and lower-skilled workers that are needed in large numbers to fill these labour shortages and skill gaps, it said. The study, by the University of Southern California Mashall School of Business, raised the need for a policy framework among APEC members to facilitate the movement of temporary labourers. Real shortages of skilled and lower skilled workers exist in many APEC economies, even during this recessionary period, it said. And these labour shortages and imbalances of skills and jobs are predicted to become increasingly critical because of the changing demographics of ageing populations, it added. This gives business real concern as access to workers is directly correlated with business competitiveness and growth. The study said current policies have tended to focus on controlling and limiting worker movement rather than facilitating it. The research cited studies showing the United States may require an additional 35 million workers by 2030, and Japan 17 million by 2050. Canada could face a shortage of one million workers by 2020, Russia would need more than 25 million workers in the next 20 years and South Korea might experience a shortfall of up to 4.8 million by 2020, it said. By 2010, the global shortage of skilled welders alone may exceed 200,000, and the worldwide shortfall for skilled manufacturing workers could top 14 million by 2020, it added. Japan would need 40,000 additional nurses and this shortage is likely to surge to 550,000 by 2014. Projected global, regional and continental labour shortages are staggering, the study said. It urged APEC leaders to include labour mobility in their agenda and called for the formation of a task force to address the issue. APECs members are Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Peru, the Philippines, Russia, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, the United States and Vietnam.