Monday, April 22nd, 2013

Surabaya, East Java, Indonesia, Apr 21, 2013 -- (ACN Newswire) -- The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum has reaffirmed support for multilateral trading system under the World Trade Organization (WTO), according to Gita Irawan Wirjawan, chairman of the APEC Ministers Responsible for Trade (MRT) meeting.

"There is practically no divergence amongst APEC members to support the multilateral trading system under WTO. The fact that four out of five candidates for the WTO directors general are from APEC shows the strength of APEC in promoting open multilateral trading system," Minister Wirjawan, Indonesian Trade Minister, told a joint press conference, here Sunday.

Wirjawan was flanked by 19 out of the total 21 APEC trade ministers attended the 20-21 April meeting, including Vietnam's Minister of Industry and Trade Vu Huy Hoang, South Korea's Minister of Trade, Industry and Energy Sang-jick Yoon and Singapore's Minister for Trade and Industry Lim Hng Kiang.

The others are Thailand's Minister of Commerce Piramol Charoenpao, Japan's Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Toshimitsu Motegi, Chile's Vice Minister of Trade Alvaro Jana, China's Minister of Commerce Gao Hucheng.

Also, Mexico's Minister of Economy Ildefonso Guajardo Villareal, Canada's Minister of International Trade Edward Daniel Fast, Russia's Deputy Minister of Economic Development Alexey Likhachev, New Zealand's Minister of Trade Tim Groser and Australia's Minister for Trade and Competitiveness Craig Emerson.

The meeting was also attended by WTO Deputy Director-General Alejandro Jara and representatives of the APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC), the Pacific Economic Cooperation Council (PECC), ASEAN, and member of the board (Ministers) Responsible for Trade of the Eurasian Economic Commission (EEC) Andrey Slepnev.

Minister Wirjawan said the two-day discussion was framed in the context of APEC 2013 under the theme of "Resilient Asia-Pacific, Engine of Global Growth." He said that is APEC's call to action towards a vision of an Asia-Pacific region that is stronger, more buoyant and more robust, and remains resilient to fulfill the role as the engine of the world's economic growth.

APEC reaffirmed the pledge in Honolulu 2011 and Vladivostok 2012 against protectionism through a standstill and extend through the end of 2016 and rollback of protectionist and trade-distorting measures, he added.

There is broad convergence of view that the negotiation as it stands now is not on course to lead to a successful outcome at MC9 on 3-6 December 2013 in Bali.

"We call on the WTO Members to change the quality and level of engagement in order to expeditiously and effectively advance work. With the APEC economies representing more than half of world's GDP and 44% of world trade, APEC accepts responsibility to make significant contribution to securing tangible results at MC9," Wirjawan said, referring to the scheduled 9th conference of the WTO ministers to be held in Bali.

While in Surabaya, according to Wirjawan, the APEC MRT shared the objective the Bali package should encompass a trade facilitation agreement and agreement on some elements of agriculture and development, including issues of interest to LDCs.

APEC is also committed to promoting progress in the negotiations on these issues, committed to showing the political will and flexibility necessary to achieve convergence by MC9 and urge other members to do the same.

The ministers reaffirmed commitment to build the Bali package to achieve the full conclusion of the DDA and to continue the negotiation to address the remaining DDA issues post-Bali. In doing so, they continue to respect the Doha mandate and its development dimension.

Continuing on Attaining the Bogor Goals

1. Reiterate commitment to address remaining issues that will help APEC economies to achieve the Bogor Goals. This includes commitment to bridge and to identify the development gap and assist developing economies to achieve the Bogor Goals by 2020.

2. Reaffirm the importance of APEC's meaningful contribution, intellectual inputs and leadership guiding the processes of FTA/RTA development in the Asia-Pacific region.

3. Reaffirm Leaders' commitment in 2012 to promote green growth and to seek practical, trade-enhancing solutions to address global environmental challenges, and their commitment in 2011 to reduce tariffs on environmental goods to 5 percent or less by the end of 2015.

4. Take note of an aspiration to expand the existing APEC EG List to include agro-based environmental goods.

5. Welcome the Public-Private Dialogue on Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and encourage officials to work with the private sector to build and improve upon CSR practices, including transparency.

6. Applaud continuous efforts to implement Leaders' Agreement in 2011 to strengthen by November 2013, the implementation of Good Regulatory Practices (GRP) initiative, particularly in the areas of ensuring internal coordination of regulatory work, assessing regulatory impact, and conducting public consultation.

7. Note the Chemical Dialogue's intention to deepen work on regulatory cooperation and convergence and welcome the status report on the implementation of GHS in the APEC region. We also welcome the work plan to advance regulatory cooperation and convergence in the food sector.

Achieving Sustainable Growth with Equity

8. Note the efforts this year in the area of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs, including youth and women entrepreneurs). Reaffirm the importance of addressing trade investment and regulatory barriers for SMEs, and support efforts to enhance SMEs' global competitiveness, business ethics, and their participation in Global Value Chains.

9. Take note of Indonesia's initiative to develop an APEC Ocean-related Activities Work Plan for 2013 that promotes cross-fora collaboration.

10. Recognizing a clear and important role for APEC member economies to show leadership towards rationalizing and phasing out inefficient fuel subsidies that encourage wasteful consumption, note Indonesia's initiative to hold a Conference on Clean, Renewable, and Sustainability in the Asia Pacific prior to the AELM, which focuses on boosting investments in the renewable energy sector; capacity building and technical cooperation; and fostering cooperation in clean and renewable energy development projects.

Promoting Connectivity

11. Instruct Senior Officials to develop a unifying, forward-looking, and ambitious APEC Framework on Connectivity this year to deepen and broaden the region's connectivity around and across the Pacific Ocean and within APEC's archipelagic and continental regions.

12. The Framework will bring greater coherence, and add impetus to ongoing connectivity-related work in APEC, including physical infrastructure, the Supply Chain Connectivity Framework, trade facilitation, structural reform and good regulatory practices, the cross-border education initiative, science and technology, as well as the movement of people, including tourists, business people, professionals and workers, women and youth.

Please contact:

Bambang Purwanto
Deputy Chief Editor
ANTARA News Agency
[email protected]

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