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APEC ministers agree on list of tariff reduction

Updated: 2012-09-06 19:16

VLADIVOSTOK - Ministers from 21 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) member economies on Thursday agreed to present a list of 54 items of goods for tariff reduction to the upcoming APEC informal economic leaders' meeting for approval.

The ministers managed to form a list of 25 items of goods for tariff reduction on Wednesday, the first day of their meeting, Russian Economy Minister Andrei Belousov told a press conference Thursday.

"It will be a shame to have only 25 items of goods for trade tariff reduction," he said, "And the ministers agreed today to increase the list to include 54 items of goods which, when approved by the leaders of the APEC meeting, will get a tariff reduction to the level of 5 percent by 2015."

When asked to identify some of the listed items, he clarified that the agreed items were not green goods themselves but rather goods which will be helpful to the improvement of environmental protection.

"Goods like measuring and controlling instruments," he said.

The Russian host highlighted efforts of the APEC member economies in reducing trade tariffs for goods which help the environment.

With the World Trade Organization, it has been over 10 years to make the progress. But with APEC, the bloc has already made some progress under the Russian presidency, Belousov said, describing the agreed list as a "substantial" progress.

Asked why the press conference was postponed by more than two hours and whether the delay was caused by opinion conflicts among the ministers, Belousov said different opinions did exist among developed and emerging economies within APEC with countries like the United States and Canada on one end of the spectrum and China, Indonesia and small countries on the other end.

"They have different opinions because they face different problems," said the minister. "But APEC agreements are consensus-based decisions so I would not call the difference a conflict."

After being approved by the leaders attending the APEC economic leaders meeting scheduled for the weekend, the trade tariff reduction agreement made in Vladivostok will be a step toward the envisaged free trade mechanism for the entire APEC region, which is known as FTAAP.

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