APEC ministers agree on reviving Doha Round
( 2003-10-19 08:31) (Xinhua)
Ministers from the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum have agreed on reviving the Doha Round multilateral trade talks, and reiterated pledge to achieve the Bogor Goals of free and open trade and investment, said a joint statement issued after the conclusion of their two-day meeting on Saturday.
To move the Doha Development Agenda (DDA), or Doha Round, forward and arrive at an ambitious and balanced outcome to it, the ministers agreed on the need to re-establish "the common purpose, commitment, and contribution from all WTO (World Trade Organization) members," and reiterated that the development dimension is at the core of the DDA, the statement said.
"They reaffirmed that a successful outcome is essential for strengthening the global trading system, promoting global economic development and well-being, as well as achieving the Bogor Goals," it said.
While regretting "the missed opportunity" to advance Doha Roundof World Trade Organization talks in Cancun, Mexico, the ministers recognized that "flexibility and political will from all are urgently needed."
The 15th APEC ministerial meeting focused on three broad issues-- advancing the DDA, strengthening APEC's cooperation on human security, and capacity building to help peoples and societies adjust to globalization, Thai Foreign Minister Surakiart Sathirathai told reporters while summarizing the meeting results. กก
He stressed that APEC, as an economic forum, should not be transformed into "a forum of security."
On the implementation of the Trade and Investment Liberalization and Facilitation, the ministers, who finalized the agenda for the APEC Economic Leaders Meeting slated for Oct. 20-21, noted that progress has been made, particularly concerning the target of reducing business transaction cost by 5 percent by 2006. กก
They urged all economies to implement their selected actions and measures expeditiously and to prepare for the mid-term review and Expanded Dialogue on Trade Facilitation to be held next year, according to the joint statement.
On enhancing transparency, the ministers endorsed eight area-specific Transparency Standards and requested that further work bedone on government procurement, and agreed to recommend that the APEC economic leaders endorse the Transparency by 2005 Strategy agreed by ministers responsible for trade.
Furthermore, the ministers endorsed the "APEC Structural ReformAction Plan" as a unified framework for helping build economies' capacity to meet changing market demands and enhance their competitiveness. They stressed their determination to pursue such reform in the region to "maximize the opportunities arising from trade and investment liberalization and facilitation."
On further economic and technical cooperation (Ecotech), the ministers endorsed a shortlist of four priorities -- integration into the global economy, promoting the development of knowledge-based economies, addressing the social dimension of globalization, and counter-terrorism capacity building.
Turning to counter-terrorism and secure trade, the ministers agreed to block cross-border movement of equipment, funds and people involved in terrorist activities, while enhancing the free flow of legitimate travelers, trade and investment.
To counter the emerging threat of shoulder-mounted man-portableair defense systems (ManPADs) to civil aviation, they agreed to strengthen domestic controls on the "production, stockpiles, transfer and brokering" of ManPADs.
To enhance the security of travel, the ministers encouraged economies to implement advance passenger information systems and instructed senior officials to assess the feasibility of a regional movement alert system.
As to the APEC reform, they praised recent efforts to make the APEC agenda "more focused and policy oriented." They also agreed on the need for streamlining activities and to make APEC more responsive to the rapidly changing environment.
The ministers reached consensus on some other issues, including creating a new financial architecture for APEC, supporting small and medium-sized enterprises and micro enterprises.
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