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President Hu Calls for Revival of Multilateral Trade Talks

President Hu Jintao called on the world's economies in Bangkok Monday to "demonstrate their political will, take a flexible and pragmatic approach" to revive stalled multilateral trade talks.

Addressing the first-day session of the 11th Economic Leaders' Meeting of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum, Hu urged APEC members to "renew their commitment to the "Bogor Goals" and work together against trade protectionism and trade barriers.

He was referring to the 1994 meeting in Bogor, Indonesia, where APEC economies set the goal of establishing free trade between its developed economies by 2010 and its developing members by 2020.

Hu said the 5th World Trade Organization ministerial meeting in Cancun, Mexico, last month, ended in failure mainly because "the negotiations were not balanced enough to reflect the interests of all parties, particularly the concerns of the developing countries."

The Chinese president urged APEC economies to step up mutual opening of markets and improve the multilateral trading system.

He stressed that rising protectionism, new trade barriers and frequent trade frictions have worsened the difficulties facing many economies, especially the developing ones, hampering global economic recovery and growth.

Hu said that trade disputes should be resolved through dialogue and consultations.

"A fair and open multilateral trading system serves the steady growth of trade at both regional and international levels, contributes to sound economic expansion around the world and conforms to the interests of all parties," the Chinese president said.

"I hope all parties will demonstrate their political will, take a flexible and pragmatic approach and move ahead the new round of talks to an early fruition," Hu added.

(Xinhua News Agency October 21, 2003)

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