APEC Reaches Consensus on Key Issues

Significant progress and consensus have been made at the APEC Second Senior Officials' Meeting (SOMII) of the Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation (APEC) held in Shenzhen, a special economic zone in South China's Guangdong Province.

All the members have agreed that the Second Senior Officials (SOMII) have reached positive achievements and they are satisfied with the results," said Wang Guangya, the SOM chairman, at a press briefing after the conclusion of the SOMII, held from June 2-3.

Senior officials from the 21 APEC member economies reached important agreements on issues including trade and investment liberalization and facilitation (TILF) and support for an early launch of new rounds of negotiation to enter the WTO, , according to the chairman.

Wang, also vice-foreign minister, said the SOMII, acting as the mid-point in APEC's China year, had laid a solid foundation for delivering concrete results to the APEC Leaders summit in Shanghai.

Responding to the worries of trade protectionism backed by the slowdown of the world economy, Wang said, "APEC can send a positive signal that APEC members support the multilateral trade system and the new round of WTO negotiations on free trade."

On sharing the benefits of globalization and the new economy, SOMII noted that the e-APEC Task Force has begun its work on drafting a long-term, forward-looking and action-oriented strategy in following up on the New Economy Action Agenda adopted by leaders last year, said Wang.

Members of SOMII also agreed to build a digital society in the Asia-Pacific region with equal opportunities and widely shared benefits for all economies, he said, adding that APEC would speed up efforts to narrow the "digital divide."

Wang also noted that APEC officials at various levels had expressed their full support of China's early accession to the WTO and he emphasized that China was still keen to become a member of the organization .

"China's hosting the APEC meetings this year will show its determination to integrate itself into the world economy and join the trend of globalization," Wang emphasized. "It is a positive event and all APEC members have made clear their hope that China will become a member of the organization."

Senior officials agreed to develop a set of "Ecotech Action Plans" (economic and technical co-operation) and further endorsed the principles on trade facilitation to be forwarded to the APEC Trade Ministers Meeting, to be held June 6-7 in Shanghai.

The SOMII attached importance to the participance of women, academic and educational circles this year and tried to integrate APEC with more varied circles, he said.

Wang indicated that the purpose of APEC should not only focus on promoting progress in business circles but on serving their people.

(China Daily 06/04/2001 )

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