APEC Delegates Discuss Globalization Trends

Senior Officials from 21 Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation (APEC) member economies yesterday opened their last formal meeting of the year.

The Third Senior Officials' Meeting (SOM III) was presided over by SOM Chair and Chinese Vice-Minister of Foreign Affairs, Wang Guangya.

During their two-day meeting, Senior Officials intended to finalize all preparatory work ahead of October, when economic leaders will discuss key issues regarding economic development of the region and the future direction of APEC.

The SOM chair called for significant progress on various initiatives in sharing benefits of globalization and the New Economy - based on the rise of information technology - advancing trade and investment and promoting sustainable development.

On sharing the benefits of globalization and the New Economy, Wang asked Senior Officials to finalize the formulation of an "e-APEC" strategy - building on the rising importance of the Internet - and to examine the preliminary ECOTECH (Economic and Technical Co-operation) Action Plans submitted by a number of member economies.

SOM III will also consider the follow-ups on the Human Capacity Building High Level Meeting which was held in Beijing in May.

"ECOTECH helps all the economies of various levels of development in APEC to build capacity and makes it easier for the economies in the region to achieve the goals set by APEC," said Lawrence Greenwood, a Senior Official from the United States.

On advancing trade and investment, Wang asked Senior Officials to consolidate the consensus reached at the APEC Meeting of Ministers Responsible for Trade (MRT), with a view to building the momentum for launching the new round of the World Trade Organization (WTO) negotiations. He also called for the early completion of a review of Osaka Action Agenda.

"The revision of the Osaka Action Agenda, which was agreed in 1996, attempts to refresh the agenda so that it reflects the economies and rules of today," said Joseph Caron, Canadian Senior Official.

On promoting sustainable development, Wang stressed the importance of carrying on the close interaction on a series of financial and macro-economic issues with the Finance Ministers' process. Senior Officials will also review the annual Economic Outlook to be submitted to the Ministerial Meeting, and consider other initiatives such as strengthening co-operation on building a social safety network.

(China Daily 08/24/2001)

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