The 13th Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Ministerial Meeting opened Wednesday morning at the Shanghai International Convention Center.
Chinese Foreign Minister Tang Jiaxuan and Minister of Foreign Trade and Economic Cooperation Shi Guangsheng co-chaired the meeting, attended by ministers and representatives in charge of foreign affairs and trade from the APEC's 21-member economies.
Speaking at the opening of the meeting, Chinese Foreign Minister Tang said the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) has made momentous progress over the last decade.
"The past decade is one of rapid expansion of regional cooperation and remarkable achievements of the APEC," said Tang.
Tang said that APEC has set up Bogor goals of achieving trade and investment liberalization by 2010 for developed members and by 2020 for developing ones. It has created a unique approach featuring a combination of individual and collective actions while promoting the development of a multilateral trading regime and carrying out various forms of economic and technical cooperation, Tang said.
"The APEC has become one of the most important economic forums in the region and even in the world," Tang said, adding that it has provided rare opportunities for dialogue and exchange of views by leaders of member economies and for discussions on frontier issues related to the global and regional economy.
APEC has played a guiding role in the formulation of policy frameworks on many other issues as well, Tang said.
"Therefore, the APEC has made positive contribution to maintaining peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific Region and enhancing its economic prosperity and development.”
Tang attributed the APEC success not only to the common aspiration of all its members for a sustainable economic growth through cooperation but also to the APEC approach of volunteerism, consensus-building, flexibility, and gradualism.
"A more important factor for its success is that it has stood at the forefront and advanced with the times in response to the latest development in the global and regional economy," Tang added.
In the two-day ministerial meeting, participants are holding discussions on the main theme of "Meeting New Challenges in the New Century: Achieving Common Prosperity through Participation and Cooperation.” Three issues - advancing trade and investment, sharing the benefits of globalization and new economy, promoting a sustainable economic growth of the Asia-Pacific region – were to dominate discussion.
Tang expressed hope that the meeting would help expand consensus on ways to respond to the challenges facing the global economic situation:
"We should take effective fiscal and financial measures to stabilize the market, restore confidence and facilitate growth so as to enable all the APEC economies to come out, as soon as possible, of the economic slowdown and the shadow of the September 11 terrorist attacks and onto the road to a sustained and steady growth. I'm convinced that this Ministerial Meeting will produce rich deliverables in the above-mentioned fields to be submitted to the upcoming Economic Leaders' Meeting."
(Edited by Xiaowei for china.org.cn from reports of Xinhua News Agency, People’s Daily and China Daily 10/17/2001)