APEC ministers agree not to impose new trade barriers

08:14, November 11, 2010      

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Ministers of Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) met in Yokohama, Japan, Wednesday, pledging not to impose new trade barriers until 2013.

APEC ministers also discussed and would finalize recommendations for Leaders on a new economic growth strategy and measures to liberalize trade and investment.

The key issues include laying out the road map for the proposed Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific (FTAAP), which would encompass all APEC members, and establish an action plan for a "growth strategy" that would include supporting small and medium-size enterprises, promoting low-carbon energy, creating opportunities for women, cooperating in industry and technology, and aiding human security.

APEC has also been exploring possible pathways to a Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific (FTAAP), which is part of APEC's agenda on greater regional economic integration to increase trade and investment and boost prosperity in the region.

Japanese Foreign Minister Seiji Maehara, who co-chairs the meeting with Economy, Trade and Industry Minister Akihiro Ohata, said that he would like to discuss the creation of a "free trade system ... at a time when the Asia-Pacific region's presence in the global economy is increasing."

In a related development on Wednesday, more than 3,000 people took to the street in Tokyo to protest against Japan's plan to join talks on a trans-Pacific trade pact expected to be high on the agenda at the forthcoming APEC Leaders' Meeting.

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