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Apec - Lockwood Smith
Media statement - 30 June 1999
APEC Reinvigorated At Trade Ministers Meeting
"APEC Trade Ministers have agreed on a set of practical initiatives that collectively reinvigorate the APEC process," New Zealand Trade Minister Lockwood Smith said today.
Dr Smith was speaking today at the conclusion of the two-day meeting of APEC Ministers Responsible For Trade in Auckland, New Zealand.
He said the unanimous feedback from his Ministerial colleagues was that the meeting had been a success, and had delivered everything that leaders had requested, and more.
"APEC Trade Ministers have delivered on their obligation to move the forum closer towards the Leadersí goals outlined in Declarations from the Seattle, Bogor, Osaka and Manila meetings," Dr Smith said.
"In fact, fourteen of the 21 APEC economies have announced further tariff cuts which will accelerate their progress toward free and open trade and investment ahead of the Bogor goals of 2010 for developed economies and 2020 for developing economies.
"We have reaffirmed APECís credibility and relevance as we recover from the financial crisis and prepare for the APEC Leaderís Meeting in September and the World Trade Organisation Ministerial Meeting in November.
"The meeting has produced a list of significant initiatives in an atmosphere as friendly and constructive as any I have seen at an APEC meeting."
Dr Smith said it was significant that APEC had continued to move towards its ambitious goals although the region was still recovering from the financial crisis.
"Every APEC member agrees that the best way to repair the damage of the crisis and to insure against any future crisis is to make solid progress towards APECís trade liberalisation and trade facilitation goals, and actively promote the development of robust, transparent markets."
"Perhaps the most important outcome was the agreement to push for inclusion of industrial products in the WTO negotiations to be launched in Seattle this year, in addition to trade in agriculture and services, and that these negotiations be concluded within three years," Dr Smith said.
"The initiatives confirmed by Ministers may not be as dramatic as APECís major goal-setting announcements of the mid-1990s, but each one is an important building block towards achieving those ambitious goals.
Dr Smith said he was also pleased that it had been possible to make progress on the APEC Food System proposal launched last year by the APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC), and looked forward to working with Ministers to develop recommendations for leaders in September.