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HANOI -- Ministers and representatives from the 21-member Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) have encouraged the development of human resources, industrial science and technology, and small and medium enterprises, to strengthen economic and technical cooperation in the region.
A woman rides a bicycle past a floral decoration for the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit, outside the National Convention Centre in Hanoi November 14, 2006. Hanoi is hosting the annual Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meeting from November 12 to 19 as the World Trade Organisation's newest member and Asia's only candidate to become a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council in the 2008-09 term. [Reuters]
Under a joint statement issued on Thursday at the conclusion of the two-day 18th APEC Ministerial Meeting, they reaffirmed the pivotal role of human resources development for sustainable development and prosperity.
Regarding industrial science and technology, they welcomed the improvements in the participation of women and ethnic minority communities in science and technology.
The ministers also stressed the importance of strengthening small and medium enterprises' competitiveness for trade and investment through developing and enabling environment.
They encouraged efforts to support the use of information and communication technology in small and medium enterprises and micro ones in promoting trade and exploring business opportunities, especially in overseas markets.
At the meeting, they also reached consensus on some other important issues such as continuing the support for the World Trade Organization (WTO) negotiations, facilitating trade in the region, enhancing anti-corruption and transparency, and strengthening human security.
Documents endorsed by the ministers and representatives will be submitted to the APEC economic leaders for approval at their meeting on November 18-19.
Founded in 1989, APEC is a major regional forum acting as the primary regional vehicle for promoting open trade and practical economic and technical cooperation in the Asia-Pacific region.
It represents the most economically dynamic region in the world, with its 21 member economies accounting for more than one third of the world's population, approximately 60 percent of world GDP, about 47 percent of world trade.