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Hu Urges Bigger Role of APEC in Economic Development
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Chinese President Hu Jintao on Saturday called for bigger APEC role in backing multilateral trading system and enhancing economic and technical cooperation in the region and the world as a whole.

President Hu made the call in his speech at the 14th Economic Leaders' Informal Meeting of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) that is going on in Hanoi.

In his address, Hu said, in keeping with the principle of consensus, voluntarism and gradual progress, the 21-member APEC has conducted fruitful exchange and cooperation on major economic issues that are of common interest to its members and has boosted the economic growth in the region and among APEC members.

But he stressed in a new international and regional environment, APEC should play a bigger role in three areas.

First, Hu said, APEC should support the development of the multilateral trading system, which is crucial to the economy of the Asia-Pacific and world at large.

Hu highlighted the Doha Round of negotiations, saying APEC has played a major role in promoting the growth of the multilateral trading system and the current meeting should send a clear message to the world that Doha negotiations should be resumed speedily and major parties concerned work in a responsible and flexible manner to bridge their gaps.

Hu also said APEC should play a bigger role in efforts to meet the Bogor Goals, which the president said chart the future course of APEC and are a criterion for gauging the performance of the organization.

Moreover, President Hu called for more efforts of the regional bloc in enhancing economic and technical cooperation.

Hu said many APEC members lack adequate experience and capability to respond to some new problems and challenges emerging in recent years in areas of financial security and public health security.

The bloc should increase input and make more effective cooperation to help developing members of APEC improve their international competitiveness and their capacity to meet these challenges, Hu added.

He announced China will contribute US$2 million to the APEC Support Fund to strengthen economic and technical cooperation in the region.

Other leaders of APEC members in their speeches also urged resumption of the Doha Round of negotiations as early as possible and enhancement of multilateral trading system.

In another development, during the meeting, the leaders discussed the arrangement of regional trade, agreeing that related arrangement has played a positive role in promoting regional economic development and economic and trade exchanges.

They also exchanged views on plan of establishing an Asia-Pacific free trade area.

The APEC Economic Leaders' Informal Meeting is the highest-level meeting of the organization, which has been held once every year since 1993 in its different members.

(Xinhua News Agency November 19, 2006)

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