APEC to Play an Active Role in Region's Recovery - Thai Minister

Although Asia-Pacific economies are indeed experiencing a slowdown and the prospect is unclear, Thailand believes that Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) will play a significant role in pulling them out of the crisis, Thai Commerce Minister Adisai Bhotharamik told Xinhua in an interview on Sunday.

"We should be hopeful that the adjustment measures applied by each economy will facilitate an economic rebound. What is more important for the economies, however, is not to increase barriers to trade and to continue to be outward-looking," said Adisai who will attend the APEC meeting in Shanghai later this week.

"The Thai government is certainly a strong supporter of regional trade cooperation and has established various policies that contributes to the expansion of trade and economic growth," he said.

After recalling the Thai government's policy on trade cooperation, he said Thailand appreciated China's theme for the meeting, namely "Meeting New Challenges in the New Century - Achieving Common Prosperity Through Participation and Cooperation, " and expected to seeing positive outcomes from it.

In his opinion, even though Asian economies have weathered the storm of economic and financial crisis, APEC's role should be reinforced instead of being neglected.

Adisai pointed out that it is vital that APEC should remain a driving force for trade and investment liberalization and facilitation in the region.

He urged APEC to work out more effective measures, especially requesting developed members to make steady progress on capacity building initiatives for developing member economies in implementing WTO obligations.

He also stressed that the macroeconomic environment in the region is conducive to a sustainable growth and development, adding he saw much value in holding a macroeconomic policy dialogue.

"I believes that currency stability and reform of the international financial architecture needs to be addressed," he noted.

Thailand will urge APEC to make great efforts in revitalizing social safety net activities in the summit meeting and will also push forward an action-oriented strategy for building a digital society within the region, Adisai noted.

On China's role in regional economic and trade framework, he said he is confident that China has the potential to became one of the economic leaders in the region.

"For this reason, China should play more of a leading role in regional economic and trade cooperation", Adisai said.

The minister also predicted that after China's full accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO), a more active role will be played by China in the WTO.

(China Daily 10/14/2001)

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