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APEC Leaders Call for Restarting Trade Talks

The 11th Economic Leaders Meeting of Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum concluded in Bangkok on Tuesday with the adoption of a joint declaration calling for restarting the Doha Round of multilateral trade talks and enhancing human security through strengthened and better-coordinated anti-terror efforts.

In the "Bangkok Declaration on Partnership for the Future" readout by Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, the economic leaders agreed to strengthen partnership not only to liberalize and facilitate regional trade and investment, but also to protect peoples and societies against threats to their security, while preparing them to benefit fully from free and open trade.

In the declaration, the leaders addressed concerns in three major aspects -- promoting trade and investment liberalization, enhancing human security and using APEC to help people and societies benefit from Globalization.

On promoting trade and investment liberalization, the leaders voiced "strong support" for continuing negotiations to move forward the Doha Development Agenda (DDA) under the auspices of the World Trade Organization (WTO).

On enhancing human security, they committed themselves to take "all essential actions," and agreed that transnational terrorism and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) pose direct and profound challenges to APEC's vision of free, open and prosperous economies.

They agreed to increase and better coordinate counter-terrorism activities.

As to using APEC to help people and societies benefit from globalization, the economic leaders promised to step up efforts tobuild knowledge-based economies, and voiced support for science and technology innovation, the upgrading of English-language and computer skills among the workforce for effective use of the Internet.

The declaration was adopted after the leaders concluded their two-day meeting, which wrapped up the APEC annual meetings this year. Chile is to host next year's APEC events.

(Xinhua News Agency October 21, 2003)

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