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APEC Ministerial Meeting kicks off in Lima
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The 20th Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Ministerial Meeting started in the Peruvian capital on Wednesday, to make final preparations for the APEC Leaders' Meeting on the weekend.

The two-day ministerial meeting, held at the National Museum in Lima, will discuss global economic issues, APEC's support for the WTO Doha Round negotiations and the APEC regional economic integration, Peruvian International Trade and Tourism Minister Mercedes Araoz said at the opening session.

Others topics to be discussed include corporate social responsibility, human security, APEC institutional reform, trade and investment, structural reform, anti-corruption and transparency, economic and technical cooperation, climate change and APEC food system.

"How to take advantage of the unique structure of APEC and how to achieve greater integration of the region are among the issues to be discussed," said Araoz.

"We came to this meeting facing a great opportunity and a wide range of challenges. How to promote growth and how to restore confidence in the market are at the top of the agenda," she said. The foreign and trade ministers from APEC member economies will also prepare documents for the Leaders' Meeting, scheduled for Saturday and Sunday, she added.

Peruvian Foreign Minister Jose Antonio Garcia Belaunde said APEC member economies will play a decisive role in world economic development because of the role the group plays in trade between Asia and the Americas.

"We recognize that it will be the century of the Asia-Pacific region and the economies of APEC will be the guides of global economic growth," he said.

Peru, which has maintained a healthy economic growth, will also contribute to the growth of its trading partners within APEC, Belaunde said.

The ministers will prepare a report containing recommendations related to major APEC themes, such trade and investment liberalization and facilitation, regional economic integration, food security, Roha Round support and financial crisis. The report will be handed later to leaders of the 21 APEC economies.

A total of 3,600 delegates, including 19 leaders and 55 ministers, from APEC member economies are expected to attend the Leaders' Week that began on Nov. 16.

APEC leaders would issue a special statement on the ongoing global financial crisis, Peruvian Deputy Foreign Minister Gonzalo Gutierrez said earlier this week.

The declaration would be a "complement" to the action plan adopted at the G-20 summit in Washington last week to overcome the financial crisis, he said.

Established in 1989, APEC groups Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, China, China's Hong Kong, Chinese Taipei, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Peru, the Philippines, Russia, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand, the United States and Vietnam.

(Xinhua News Agency November 20, 2008)

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