APEC Trade Ministers to Meet in Shanghai in June

Ministerial-level trade officials of members of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) will meet in Shanghai, June 6-7, as the first ministerial-level event organized by China, APEC's 2001 host country.

The announcement was made at a press conference Tuesday by Long Yongtu, chief representative for trade negotiations at the Ministry of Foreign Trade and Economic Cooperation (MOFTEC).

This meeting among "ministers responsible for trade" (MRT) will make preparations for other forthcoming ministerial-level meetings as well as the ninth APEC informal leadership meeting scheduled for October this year, Long said.

He noted four main topics of the MRT, namely, to pursue an open trade policy and contribute to the multi-lateral trade system; promote trade and investment liberalization and facilitation; enhance economic and technical cooperation; and advance new economy and e-commerce.

So far, 12 of the total 21 APEC member economies have confirmed they will attend this year's MRT. In particular, China has extended an invitation to Michael Kenneth Moore, director-general of the World Trade Organization (WTO).

Long said there could be two focal points in this year's MRT: how APEC is to support the multi-lateral trade system by accelerating a new round of WTO talks; and how to cement cooperation and rebuild confidence among the APEC members at a time when some major members are experiencing economic slowdown.

Sources from MOFTEC said at Tuesday's press conference that formal meetings of the MRT will be held on the morning of June 6 and will continue throughout June 7, at the International Convention Center in the Pudong New District. Informal discussions on the launching of a new round of WTO talks will be held on the afternoon of June 6 in Zhouzhuang, a small town some 90 kilometers from Shanghai which is included on the World Heritage List for its distinctive ancient bridges, rivers and waterfront residences.

China is the host country for this year's APEC activities, all carrying the theme of "meeting new challenges in the new century, achieving common prosperity through participation and cooperation."

(People’s Daily 05/08/2001)

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