Business advisory body urges APEC to decide on pathways to free trade area

08:43, November 11, 2010      

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An APEC business advisory body on Wednesday called on APEC leaders to take decisive action toward to creating a Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific (FTAAP) when they meet over the weekend in Yokohama for their annual summit.

The APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC), a group of business leaders from APEC member economies appointed to provide insight into the priorities and concerns of the business sector, particularly asked leaders to decide on the most effective pathways to delivering FTAAP.

Several bilateral or multilateral free trade frameworks already exist in the region, including the ASEAN plus three, the ASEAN plus six and the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). The ASEAN plus three groups the 10 ASEAN nations, China, Japan and South Korea. TPP members include Singapore and New Zealand. The United States, Australia and three other countries are in talks with the TPP members over joining the trans-Pacific agreement, which seeks to scrap all tariffs among member countries in 10 years.

"The changing nature of modern Asia-Pacific regional supply and value chains require deeper market integration for business to continue to grow," ABAC chair Gempachiro Aihara told a press conference in Yokohama, just south of Tokyo, three days ahead of an annual APEC summit.

"Responding to this evolution requires a new APEC vision that seeks to further liberalize flows of goods, services, investment, technology and people by addressing not just border barriers but those behind the border as well. We believe that FTAAP is the most practical way of achieving this," he said.

APEC members, which account for more than 40 percent of global trade and more than half of the world's economic output, have been developing a new growth strategy to achieve balanced, inclusive, sustainable, innovative and secure economic growth.

ABAC highlighted in the letter and annual report to APEC leaders this year that making progress on the FTAAP presents the best strategy for achieving such growth, Aihara said.

Source: Xinhua


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