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|Thursday, November 16, 2000, updated at 10:43(GMT+8)|
APEC Leaders' 8th Informal Meeting Opens in BruneiThe 8th informal leadership meeting of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum opened in Bandar Seri Begawan November 16, under the theme of "Delivering to the Community."
Before opening the annual meeting, Brunei's Sultan and head of state Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah greeted the other APEC leaders at the entrance of Jerudong Park Polo Club, some 15 kilometers away from the capital city.
The leaders, dressed in Kain Tenunan Songket, a Malay style shirt, provided by the host, gathered for an official photo opportunity before heading into their closed-door meeting without bringing in their aids.
The meeting will be held under the following three sub-themes: Building stronger foundation; Creating new opportunities; and Making APEC matter more.
According to officials close to the meeting, the leaders are expected to discuss at their one-day meeting issues on economic globalization, new economy or knowledge based economy, regional economic and technical cooperation, human resources development and oil prices.
Since its establishment in 1989, APEC has become one of the most important economic cooperation bodies in the Asia-Pacific region and even in the whole world. Its 21 member economies had a combined Gross Domestic Product of over 16 trillion U.S. dollars in 1998 and accounted for 42 percent of the global trade.
Promoting the liberalization of trade and investment and encouraging economic and technological cooperation have become the two major tasks of the regional economic body.
APEC now groups Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, China, China' s Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Peru, The Philippines, Russia, Singapore, South Korea, Chinese Taipei, Thailand, The United States and Vietnam.
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