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APEC Trade Ministers to Review Progress on Free Trade
Source: apec.org
Source Date: Wednesday, June 02, 2010
Focus: Citizen Engagement
Created: Jun 07, 2010

Sapporo, Japan, 3 June 2010 - APEC Trade Ministers are set to review members' progress in achieving regional free trade goals; and will receive an update on global trade negotiations from the World Trade Organisation's Director-General, Mr Pascal Lamy. The meeting of Asia-Pacific Trade Ministers will be held in Sapporo, Japan on 5-6 June and will conclude with a press conference on 6 June.

In 1994 APEC set the 'Bogor Goals' of free and open trade and investment by 2010 for industrialised members and by 2020 for developing members. Trade Ministers will now discuss members' progress based on an interim assessment report which combines input from: member economies, the APEC Business Advisory Council and relevant international organisations.

Existing figures show that substantial progress has already been made. Average tariffs in APEC member economies are now more than 60 percent lower than when APEC was established in 1989. APEC has also been making it easier and cheaper to do business through its trade and investment facilitation action plans. A five percent reduction in business transaction costs was achieved between 2002 and 2006, and APEC is on track to achieve a further five percent reduction by the end of this year.

Mr Lamy will brief Trade Ministers on progress in the Doha Development Agenda (DDA) negotiations and on the WTO's efforts to monitor and counter protectionism. APEC Trade Ministers will then discuss how to give impetus to the DDA and maintain APEC's standstill against protectionism.

Trade Ministers will also focus on APEC's key agenda items for 2010. They will consider ways to accelerate regional economic integration, including possible pathways to a Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific. In addition, the Ministers will review APEC's work to formulate a new Growth Strategy for the region that achieves more balanced growth, attains greater inclusiveness in societies, better sustains the environment, and raises growth potential through innovation. The meeting of Trade Ministers will be preceded by meetings of APEC Senior Officials and working level groups from May 24 to June 4.
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