Free trade dominates APEC leaders' meeting ahead of summit

17:06, November 10, 2010      

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Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) member economies agreed not to introduce new trade barriers until 2013 on Wednesday, as Japan's foreign minister Seiji Maehara highlighted the region's importance in driving the global economic recovery and reiterated the need to expand free trade.

During the first installment of the forum's ministerial two-day meeting, trade and foreign ministers reflected and evaluated the effectiveness of former deals made to facilitate trade in the region and will conclude with the issuing of a consensual statement made between member economies, that sets out a joint vision of renewed integration, cooperation and growth strategies.

The rejection of protectionism in favor of setting quantifiable trade targets to further facilitate growth in the region underpinned Wednesday's meeting with member states agreeing on the region's notable role and potential to support the global economic recovery, through cooperation and strategic growth planning.

World Trade Organization (WTO) Director General Pascal Lamy attended the meeting to update ministers on the Doha Round of global trade talks, which have stalled since their commencement in 2001 due to widening gulfs between advanced and major developing economies.

Whilst conceding the 2010 deadline will likely be missed, one official in attendance at the meeting said, "quite large number of countries said that a conclusion of the Doha Round within 2011 would become extremely important."

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