APEC leaders want to revive world trade talks
Asia-Pacific leaders promised on Sunday to try to revive world trade talks and fight terrorism after a summit marred at the end by disputes over the security of President Bush.
Summit security squabbles between the United States and the Chilean hosts left a bad taste at the end of a meeting in which the greatest excitement was generated by an aggressive drive by China to boost trade links with commodity-rich Pacific states.
Bush looked to the event to improve ties with Latin America after his first
term was consumed by the aftermath of the Sept. 11 attacks and Iraq war. In
a meeting on the sidelines, Bush promised Mexico's Vicente Fox to pursue a U.S.
temporary guest worker program that has met congressional opposition.
The final declaration also called for "substantially greater market access and fewer distortions" in agriculture, which is heavily subsidized in industrial nations such as those of the European Union, Japan and the United States.
Leaders also promised to consider standardizing bilateral free-trade pacts proliferating across the world's most economically dynamic region. They pledged cooperation to fight terrorism and corruption.
BUSH WADES INTO SCUFFLE
But the summit was not trouble-free, as Bush was forced to wade into scuffling Chilean security officers who tried to prevent one of his bodyguards from entering a dinner on Saturday -- an apparent dispute over a limit on the number of people attending.
Local media also said the Chilean government scaled down another banquet because it objected to U.S. Secret Service plans to screen guests with metal detectors.
A White House spokesman said the event had been changed to an official working dinner. Invitations to more than 200 local businessmen and other dignitaries were rescinded.
The sagging dollar and U.S. trade and budget deficits, together with the issues of North Korea and AIDS, were discussed during the summit.
But the biggest interest among business leaders was generated by China.
Seeking to lock in supplies for its booming economy, China last week launched trade talks with the world's largest copper exporter, Chile, and discussed big deals with agriculture powerhouses Brazil and Argentina.
Bush said he welcomed China's increasing trade with a region that has long looked principally to the United States or Europe.
"I think it's helpful for there to be universal prosperity. China represents great opportunities for Chile and the United States, and we look forward to working with China," Bush told a joint news conference with host President Ricardo Lagos.
Referring to a question about the war in Iraq, which Chile opposed in the United Nations Security Council and was unpopular in Latin America, Bush said: "President Lagos didn't agree with my decision and I respect that. He's still my friend."
He said whether people agree with him or not, they should agree the world is better off without Saddam Hussein in power and it is important to succeed in Iraq and develop democracy there.
Next year's APEC summit will be held in South Korea, which wants the group to achieve free trade among members by 2020, Foreign Minister Ban Ki-moon told Reuters.
"When we hold this APEC leaders meeting in 2005, Korea will place more
emphasis so that APEC can give much bigger and stronger impetus" to key World
Trade Organization talks to be held in Hong Kong in December 2005, Ban