APEC Affirms Vision of Free Trade, Investments; Leaders Endorse Talks for Abolition of Export subsidies.(Main News)

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Byline: FERDIE J. MAGLALANG

LOS CABOS, Mexico - The leaders of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) members endorsed negotiations yesterday for the abolition of all forms of agricultural export subsidies and unjustifiable export prohibitions and restrictions which President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and other leaders of developing countries have criticized as hindrances to their countries' expansion and development.

In an APEC Economic Leaders Declaration issued Sunday (Monday in Manila), the 21 Asian-Pacific leaders agreed to implement the APEC vision of free and open trade and investments.

The APEC leaders called on their ministers "to continue negotiations that will open markets and enhance the multilateral trading systems, foster economic growth and poverty reduction, particularly in developing economies, promote sustainable development, improve disciplines, improve World Trade Organization (WTO) coherence with other institutions, and provide opportunities for all citizens of the world."

"We discussed the fundamental contribution of trade to economic growth, and the need for APEC to strongly support the multilateral trading system, while implementing our commitment," the declaration stated.

The leaders also welcomed the launching of new multilateral trade negotiations in Doha and encouraged all economies to pursue substantive negotiations in all areas of the Doha Development Agenda by the agreed timelines to ensure that the deadline of Jan. 1, 2005, to conclude such negotiations is met.

"We call for progress across all areas in the lead-up to the 2003 WTO Fifth Ministerial Conference in Cancun," the leaders said.

The leaders agreed that these negotiations hold the prospect of real gains for all economies, particularly developing economies, in the area of agricultural reform, improved market access for goods and services, and clarification and improvement of trade disciplines.

President Macapagal Arroyo and other leaders of developing economies have been calling for a leveling of the playing field in trade, saying that agricultural subsidies and trade barriers in the United States, Japan, and the European Union have hindered exports.

Terrorism

LOS CABOS, Mexico - The leaders of the 21-member Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum commended yesterday the determination by the governments of the Philippines, Indonesia, and the Russian Federation to bring terrorists to justice.

In one of two statements issued at the end of their two-day summit meeting here, the leaders of the APEC also condemned the recent terrorist attacks in the Asia-Pacific region, especially in the Philippines, Indonesia and the Russian Federation.

The APEC leaders also expressed deepest sympathy and condolences to the victims of these attacks and their families and to the peoples of these APEC member-economies. …