APEC forum backs free-trade goal
( 2003-10-22 01:27) (China Daily)
The 11th Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation (APEC) Economic Leaders' Meeting concluded Tuesday after passing the Bangkok Declaration on Partnership for the Future.
The 21 APEC economic leaders indicated they would push for a multilateral trading system and the completion of the World Trade Organization (WTO) Doha Development Agenda.
The leaders reached a consensus that regional and bilateral free trade agreements must be consistent with WTO principles, advance WTO objectives and contribute to the Bogor Goals.
In 1994 in Bogor, Indonesia, APEC adopted the goals of free and open trade and investment for developed economies by 2010 and for developing economies by 2020.
The economic representatives agreed to strengthen partnerships not only to liberalize and facilitate regional trade and investment but also to protect their citizens and societies against security threats.
The declaration also says that terrorism and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction are direct and profound challenges facing their vision for free, open and prosperous economies.
It agrees to take all essential action to dismantle, fully and without delay, transnational terrorist groups that threaten APEC economies.
At the meeting, Chinese President Hu Jintao said the international community should try a three-pronged approach to tackle both the root causes and symptoms of terrorism -- ease regional and international tensions, eliminate poverty and enhance anti-terrorism co-operation.
Addressing another threat, the leaders decided to implement the APEC Action Plan on SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) and a health security initiative to help the bloc prevent and respond to regional health hazards including naturally occurring infectious diseases and bio-terrorism.
They also committed themselves to empowering people and strengthening their societies to meet the challenges of globalization and strive for sustainable economic development.
The situation on the Korean Peninsula was discussed over lunch, with a resolution formed to seek a peaceful outcome through dialogue.
APEC's members are committed to the maintenance of peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula, support the continuation of the six-party talks and look forward to a nuclear weapons-free peninsula, the declaration said.
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