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APEC Summit Assertion
The 10th annual Economic Leaders' Meeting of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum ended in Los Cabos Sunday with the adoption of a declaration on economic growth and statements on counter-terrorism.

Under the theme of "Expanding the Benefits of Cooperation for Growth and Economic Development -- Implementing the Vision," the two-day 2002 APEC Economic Leaders Meeting was held at this seaside resort in northern Mexico to discuss counter-terrorism issues, growth policies for the new economy; ways to benefit from development, particularly for small, medium and micro enterprises;and ways to promote greater participation in APEC by women and young people.

But in wake of the deadly bombing in the Indonesian island of Bali, series of terrorist attacks in the Philippines and hostage-taking by Chechen separatists in Moscow, global security issues have dominated the meeting.

In the Economic Leaders' Declaration, leaders of the 21-member APEC said: "We gathered in Los Cabos for the 10th annual APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting to strengthen economic growth by implementing the APEC vision of free, open and prosperous economies.

"We agreed on the importance of fighting terrorism, which posesa profound threat to our vision," the declaration says.

It says that APEC leaders endorsed the APEC Trade Facilitation Action Plan which will implement "our commitment to cut transaction costs by 5 percent in the APEC region by 2006," and adopted the attached Statement to Implement APEC Transparency Standards, and directed that these standards be implemented as soon as possible, and in no case later than January 2005.

APEC leaders endorsed Pathfinder Initiatives on advance passenger information systems; the revised Kyoto Convention on the Simplification and Harmonization of Customs Procedures, etc., and adopted the attached Statement to Implement the APEC Policies on Trade and the Digital Economy, which contains a set of targets related to trade policies for the New Economy, according to the declaration.

For two consecutive years since the September 11 terrorist attacks in the United States, global security issues have overshadowed APEC annual meetings' discussions of free trade and prosperity.

At the 9th annual APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting held in Shanghai in October 2001, APEC leaders issued a declaration to call for a global campaign against terrorism.

At their meeting this year, APEC leaders issued the Counter-Terrorism Statements consisting of the APEC Leaders' Statement on Recent Acts of Terrorism in APEC Member Economies and the APEC Leaders' Statement on Fighting Terrorism and Promoting Growth.

These statements address the dangers posed by terrorism to the Asia-Pacific region and outline the twin APEC goals of enhancing security against terrorist threats while ensuring trade growth in the Asia-Pacific region.

The APEC Leaders' Statement on Recent Acts of Terrorism in APEC Member Economies reaffirms the APEC Leaders Statement on Counter-Terrorism adopted in Shanghai in October 2001.

In this statement, APEC leaders acknowledged the need to immediately combat, by all means, threats to international peace, security and economic sustainability of the region caused by terrorist acts.

Meanwhile, the APEC Leaders' Statement on Fighting Terrorism and Promoting Growth calls for enhancing the Secure Trade in the APEC Region (STAR) Initiative, halting terrorist financing, promoting cyber security, and capacity building.

The STAR initiative will provide a forum for promoting the implementation of measures proposed by international organizations committed to countering terrorism and promoting economic development.

"Leaders have agreed to work together to secure the flow of goods and people through measures to protect cargo, ships engaged in international voyages, international aviation and people in transit," it says.

On halting terrorist financing, the statement says APEC leaders have agreed to enhance practical efforts to prevent terrorists and their organizations from transferring and accessing funding.

These measures include fully implementing UN and other international instruments, promoting better monitoring of alternative remittance systems and non-profit organizations and enhancing law enforcement and regulatory capabilities.

On promoting cyber security, the statement says APEC leaders have agreed to commit to endeavor to enact comprehensive cyber crime laws and develop closer law enforcement communication and cooperation.

On capacity building, the statement says APEC leaders commit to work cooperatively to build capacity throughout the region so that all economies can benefit from the resulting gains in security and prosperity.

"This will include building on the considerable counter-terrorism-related training and other assistance already being undertaken in the APEC region," it says.

APEC, set up in 1989 in response to the growing interdependence among Asia-Pacific economies and to the need to advance Asia-Pacific economic dynamism and sense of community, now groups Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, China, Chinese Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Peru, Philippines, Russia, Singapore, Chinese Taipei, Thailand, the United States and Vietnam.

(Xinhua News Agency October 28, 2002)

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