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UPDATED: 15:21, September 03, 2004
APEC holds finance ministers meeting in Chile
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The 11th Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum of finance ministers began in Santiago on Thursday.

Inaugurating the two-day meeting, Chilean President Ricardo Lagos, the current rotating head of APEC, stressed the importance of economic development and fiscal stability to the integration of the Asia-Pacific region.

He called for strengthening the international financial mechanism to guard against the adverse effect of venture capital and fluctuation of the international capital market on developing countries.

Lagos also urged discussions on the feasibility of establishing a free trade agreement (FTA) among the APEC economies, saying the realization of the FTA will not only enlarge regional and international trade, but also promote investment between the economies.

In the first day of the meeting, the ministers reiterated theirsupport for a new round of WTO talks and agreed that fiscal discipline and sustainable fiscal policies are of extreme importance to economic growth.

The financial chiefs also discussed uncertainties of the world economy such as inflation and the soaring oil prices.

At the meeting, Chinese Finance Minister Jin Renqing briefed the finance ministers on the latest developments in the Chinese economy.

New chief of the International Monetary Fund Rodrigo de Rato and Director of the Inter American Development Bank Enrique Iglesias are also attending the meeting and expected to deliver speeches on the perspective of the world economy.

A declaration containing recommendations of the ministers will be submitted to the APEC summit to be held here in November.

According to other reports, police dispelled a demonstration against the APEC meeting of finance ministers here and arrested a number of individuals.

Source: Xinhua

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