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Open Trade is Key to Growth: President Jiang
The Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) members should rally behind an open, global trading regime and strive to advance the new round of negotiations of the World Trade Organization (WTO), Chinese President Jiang Zemin said early this morning.

Speaking at the second session of the 10th informal meeting of APEC economic leaders, Jiang called on various parties to display vision and courage in adopting a pragmatic attitude to accelerate the sluggish negotiation process.

During the negotiations, the needs of developing countries should be given top consideration, so that the new round will produce a true mechanism for development.

The Chinese president asked APEC members to work concertedly against trade protectionism to lay a solid ground for healthy economic growth and multilateral trade development in the region.

The annual APEC session provides a rare stage for Pacific Rim economic leaders to discuss economic, trade and technological issues face to face, and look at burning topics such as the global fight against terror. President Jiang has attended all nine previous meetings since 1993.

Jiang said co-ordination and co-operation are crucial in offsetting the risks and difficulties in global and regional economies. "We should all adopt down-to-earth fiscal and monetary policies, regulate and stabilize the market, and restore investor and consumer confidence with a view to promoting economic growth," Jiang said.

He added that developed countries, given their economic strength, should take the lead in actions and shoulder greater responsibilities.

APEC should work to implement the Shanghai Accord reached last year, which calls on APEC members to fulfil their commitments in the Bogor goals. The Bogor meeting of APEC members, held in 1994, set forth an agenda to achieve free and open trade and investment in the region no later than 2010 for industrialized economies and 2020 for developing economies.

The Chinese president said APEC has become the most influential multilateral economic forum in the Pacific Rim during the past decade, playing an active role in promoting global and regional growth.

"The key to our success lies in our ability to respect diversity in the light of the varied interests and concerns of members, seeking common ground while shelving differences," Jiang said.

Such respect for historic and cultural diversity in the members and their different paths or models of development serve as the foundation for APEC to achieve common development and prosperity, he emphasized.

"China will unswervingly follow its own development path suited to its national conditions," Jiang said, adding that China's development will bring more opportunities for economic wellbeing in the Asia-Pacific region and the world at large.

At the 2002 APEC CEO summit here on Saturday, Jiang urged the governments and business circles of APEC members to expand co-operation and increase trust in order to unleash a global economic recovery.

"It behoves us to keep in mind the larger interests of regional economic co-operation and world economic development, such as reining in trade protectionism and working unswervingly to promote trade and investment liberalization and facilitation (TILF) and economic and technical co-operation (Ecotech)," Jiang said at the summit.

He said that in the short run, trade protectionism appears to have protected domestic enterprises by securing the home market. But in the long run, it not only cuts business opportunities of foreign companies, but also holds back the development of domestic firms.

The three-day 2002 CEO summit, an important part of the annual APEC meeting, provides an opportunity for political and business leaders from the Asia-Pacific region to exchange and update their knowledge of economic, political, social and technological developments that affect business opportunities and trends for the 21-member APEC economies.

Jiang said China's development and opening to the outside world have made it one of the world's biggest markets, creating huge opportunities for foreign products and services.

APEC, first coming into being in 1989, now groups 21 member economies along the Pacific Rim: Australia; Brunei; Canada; Chile; China; Hong Kong, China; Indonesia; Japan; the Republic of Korea; Malaysia; Mexico; New Zealand; Papua New Guinea; Peru; the Philippines; Russia; Singapore; Chinese Taipei; Thailand; the United States and Viet Nam. A meeting of economic leaders of APEC members is held annually.

(China Daily October 28, 2002)

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