APEC to Push for WTO to Talk Trade

Senior officials from the Asia-Pacific region agreed Friday that APEC, the largest regional organization in the world, may help in the launching of the WTO's new round of multilateral trade negotiations.

This was announced at the retreat by the senior officials from the 21 Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation (APEC) member economies who will also attend the Second Senior Officials'Meeting (SOM II) of the 13th APEC Ministerial Meetings in Shenzhen in South China's Guangdong Province June 2-3.

During the retreat, which was presided over by APEC SOM Chair and Vice-Foreign Minister Wang Guangya, the officials expressed their full commitment and strong support to the multilateral trading system, and agreed that APEC should take the lead in enhancing the system and combating trade protection.

The officials reached the consensus that the new round of multilateral trade negotiations should be launched on the basis of a balanced and sufficiently broad-based agenda.

They also exchanged views on the possible elements that may be included in the agenda and urged that the agenda must be in line with the interests and concerns of all WTO members, given the downside risks of the regional and global economic outlook.

Senior officials emphasized the APEC WTO-related capacity building programmes and called for expeditious action to make sure that impact reaches an effective level as soon as possible.

The officials reiterated their strong support for China's entry to the WTO with the rapid completion of the negotiation process in Geneva.

The officials finally agreed that the discussions were constructive and helpful in broadening the consensus among economies on the issues involved.

(China Daily 06/02/2001)

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