Health risks on 2005 APEC forum agenda
Updated: 2005-11-13 10:00
The annual Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum kicked off in South
Korea's southeastern port city of Busan on Saturday, with free trade,
counter-terrorism, oil prices and fighting corruption on top of its agenda.
first time, a global response to health risks such as avian influenza will be
included in the agenda.
traditional Korean clothes welcome guests of the Asia-Pacific Economic
Cooperation (APEC) meeting in Busan, South Korea, Nov. 12, 2005. The
meeting opened on Saturday. [Xinhua]
Earlier in the day, senior officials from the 21 APEC member economies began
their two-day meeting to finalize the agenda for the Economic Leaders' Meeting
scheduled on Nov. 18-19.
The main theme of this year's APEC forum is "Toward One Community: Meet the
Challenge, Make the Change," reflecting the member economies' vision to become a
unified global community with an open multilateral trading system as the key to
The APEC forum opened amid tight security in Busan following the recent
deadly terror attack in the Jordanian capital of Amman. Some 30,000 police have
been deployed in the port city to provide security for the APEC forum, while
another 20,000 police have been mobilized to guard subway stations, train
stations and important buildings across the country.
On the first day of the APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting scheduledon Nov. 18,
the Pacific Rim leaders will focus on the future direction of the WTO and Doha
Round trade talks, the "Bogor Goals"and the response to regional trade
agreements and free trade agreements.
The second day of the APEC Economic Leaders'Meeting on Nov. 19 will focus on
human security, including measures against terrorismand corruption, co-measures
for preventing epidemics, including avian influenza, as well as energy security.
The APEC forum will add momentum to finalizing a trade deal in Hong Kong next
month by giving leaders around the world a chance to reaffirm the pledge to make
substantial progress in the global trade talks, said Ban Ki-Moon, South Korea's
Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
"We expect the leaders of APEC economies in Busan to announce a statement
promoting acceleration of the World Trade Organizations' Doha Development
Agenda," the minister said earlier.
The Doha Round of World Trade Organization negotiations, first introduced at
the fourth WTO biannual ministerial conference in Doha, Qatar in 2001, collapsed
in 2003 due to deep differences between the developed and developing members on
market access, agriculture subsides and tariff structures. The push by APEC
leaders to keep the momentum going is seen as important because the region
represents nearly half of the world trade.
But experts are not optimistic about the outcome of the WTO ministerial
conference in Hong Kong next month.
"I don't think there is much hope for the Doha Round meeting in Hong Kong as
there is no real movement on agricultural subsidies by the developed countries,"
Michel Yahuda, an expert on Asia-Pacific affairs at London School of Economics,
The Pacific Rim leaders are also scheduled to adopt a joint statement
entitled the "Busan Declaration," a special statement on the Doha Development
Agenda (DDA) and the "Busan Roadmap" to trade liberalization in the region.
The "Busan Roadmap" will set the follow-up direction of completing free trade
and investment in order to speed up market liberation beyond borders under the
"Bogal Goals," which specify the APEC objectives for free and open trade and
investment among industrialized members by 2010, and among developing members by
Among the leaders to attend this year's APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting are
Chinese President Hu Jintao, US President George W. Bush, Russian President
Vladimir Putin, Japanese Prime Minister Koizumi Junichiro and South Korean
President Roh Moo-hyun. The leaders will hold bilateral meetings on the
sidelines of APEC forum.
"APEC 2005 in Busan will be another opportunity for APEC to demonstrate its
consolidated stance on the advancement of free trade and enhancement of human
security," said Kim Jong-hoo, South Korea's APEC ambassador.
Since its inception in 1989 in response to the growing interdependence among
Asia-Pacific economies, APEC has become a formidable regional forum acting as
the primary regional vehicle for promoting open trade and practical economic and
technical cooperation in the Asia-Pacific region.
For the last 16 years, APEC member economies have generated nearly 70 percent
of global economic growth.
APEC currently has 21 members: Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile,China,
China's Hong Kong, Chinese Taipei, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New
Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Peru, the Philippines, Russia, Singapore, South
Korea, Thailand, the United States and Vietnam. The chairmanship rotates among
members, with South Korea holding the chair this year.