APEC trade ministers pledge to support multilateral trading system
Rosalinda L. Orosa (The Philippine Star) - April 21, 2013 - 8:42pm

SURABAYA (Xinhua) -- Trade ministers of Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) concluded the ministerial meeting responsible for trade here Sunday, pledging to support multilateral trading system and eliminate protectionism and trade distorting measures.

Gita Wirjawan, Indonesian Trade Minister and chair of the meeting, told a joint briefing that all the representatives agreed that trade liberalism is the main tool toward a free and open trading system, and there is no divergence among APEC members to support multilateral trading system under the World Trade Organization (WTO).

The ministers also voiced commitment to attain the Bogor Goals, achieve sustainable growth with equity and promote connectivity, according to Gita.

APEC Trade Ministers concluded their meeting by issuing a statement that outlines collective solutions for addressing challenges that could impact the Asia-Pacific's economic landscape.

They also issued a separate Standalone Statement: strengthening the Multilateral trading system through Bali MC9, the ninth session of its Ministerial Conference (MC9) of WTO.

Gao Hucheng, China's Minister of Commerce emphasized China's strong support for the multilateral trading system and resist over protectionism at the press conference.

"We are happy to work together with this trade minister meeting partners and to  move the multilateral trading system forward," Gao said, adding that China will push forward the negotiation and conclusion of the early harvest at MC9, which will be held in Bali this December.

Gao pointed out that China is concerned over the slow progress on the negotiation taking place in Geneva, referring to the meeting of the Trade Negotiations Committee in Geneva this April.

"We are happy to co-chair the senior official meeting due to be held this month in Geneva in a bid to push along the negotiations on early harvest," Gao said.

The two-day meeting was attended by delegates from 19 out of APEC's 21 member economies, representatives from ASEAN, WTO, the Pacific Economic Cooperation Council (PECC) and APEC Secretariat. It is one of the many preliminary preparation meetings before the APEC Summit to be held in Indonesia's resort island Bali in early October.

APEC, the largest regional bloc on earth established in 1989, accounts for around 50 percent of the world's total GDP and 40 percent of its population and trade.

Indonesia is the rotating chair of APEC in 2013 and it has put forward the theme "Resilient Asia Pacific, Engine of Global growth.

APEC ASIA-PACIFIC ECONOMIC COOPERATION BOGOR GOALS ENGINE OF GLOBAL GAO GAO HUCHENG GITA WIRJAWAN INDONESIAN TRADE MINISTER MEETING MINISTER OF COMMERCE TRADE
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