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UPDATED: 10:55, October 08, 2004
Ecuador seeks APEC accession in 2007
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Ecuadoran Foreign Minister Patricio Zuquilanda said Thursday that his country hoped to enter the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) in 2007.

"Ecuador has always worked to join the system of the Pacific Rim and it is an aspiration of the government for the country to be admitted in 2007 as a new APEC member," Zuquilanda told the press.

"We've been working to put the country's macroeconomic numbers in order, as accession to the system of the Pacific Rim demands a fiscal discipline, a national order and a discipline in complying with our international commitments and agreements," he said.

The minister added the APEC membership would help the country expand its markets abroad and increase exports, especially to Asian countries, which take barely 10 percent of Ecuadoran exports.

Ecuadoran President Lucio Gutierrez highlighted the importance of improving the relations with other APEC economies to support its entry into the regional organization, officials said.

APEC, which groups China, the United States, Russia, Japan, Australia, Canada, Mexico and 14 other economies, has a total population of 2.5 billion and represents 47 percent of world trade.

The forum is aimed at trade liberalization and the promotion ofeconomic cooperation and investment among the members. Enditem

Source: Xinhua

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